If you were coming to Tricky’s 14th album without knowing anything about him (British trip-hop pioneer), you might wonder if it were the debut of an icy new Scandi pop-sounding star. Little-known Polish vocalist Marta Złakowska – whom Tricky “discovered” when she filled in last minute on the opening night of his European tour – takes centre stage on Fall to Pieces. He is known for pairing with other singers – memorably, Martina Topley-Bird – but on this LP, he says, he’s trying something new on for size: pop songs. Very short ones.
Fall Please’s Moodymann-ish house pulse wouldn’t sound out of place at a pool party. Running Off, at 1.44 minutes long, is a sultry vignette of electro-baroque. Other tracks, such as Take Me Shopping, have echoes of nu-metal and acoustic Nirvana. Ultimately, it’s a jarring mix, though Tricky has hit upon something interesting with the Unloved-style desert blues of Like a Stone and Vietnam. Understandably, as he lost his daughter last year, Fall to Pieces has its bleak moments – Hate This Pain, particularly, sounds like Tricky coming unstuck – but Złakowska’s coolly delicate voice is the glue to piece him together again.