Tracey Thorn: Record review – grownup feminist bangers

(Unmade Road/Caroline International)

Grown women could sorely use a riot grrrl movement of their own. Because later life still throws out what a disgusted Tracey Thorn, on Sister (a collaboration with Warpaint’s rhythm section and Corinne Bailey Rae), recognises as the “same old shit”.

Thorn is no stroppy three-chord bellower, though, having lungs of velvet and actual 80s pop stardom in her backstory (Everything But the Girl), as well as musical prowess at her disposal. This third solo album – “nine feminist bangers”, Thorn has quipped, with an immaculately raised eyebrow – finds the singer up against electronic backings, drilling down into complex emotions.

And some simpler ones: Dancefloor is a vocoder-embellished 80s squelch-fest mostly dedicated to the joy of cutting loose while half-cut. Full of stoic resolution, Go could be a lament for a departing lover. Listen in, though, and it is a farewell to a departing offspring; Babies is an ode to birth control, then reproduction. The bangers themselves remain rooted in the 80s and 90s, perhaps limiting this pertinent album’s reach across generations.

Watch the video for Queen by Tracey Thorn.


Kitty Empire

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