Tricky - Knowle West Boy

Making the personal universal after a five year hiatus

Is it a coincidence that both
Portishead and Tricky release
new albums this year? Though
they both, rightfully, hate the
trip hop tag they were lumped
with in the 90s, there’s no
overlooking timing. As the global
economy collapses and Britain’s
political future looks bleak, we
need their singular salvation.

Since 2003’s Vulnerable
Tricky spent his time partying
incognito in America. For many
susceptible to affectation this
could have been ruinous, but
Tricky found freedom through
overseas anonymity and
reconnected with his roots.
While Maxinquaye existed
beyond time and Pre-Millenium Tension voiced the
world’s end-of-the-Millennium
fears, Knowle West Boy is
essentially a paean to the
Bristol district Tricky grew up
in. It’s a mish-mash of his
punk, ragga, hip-hop and even
pop (through a face-rocking
cover of Kylie’s Slow) influences
being given free reign;
disjointed, but compelling.

The past may have seen
Tricky unleash paranoia but
here his life stories, including
teenage pregnancy, break-ups
and a beautiful willingness to let
acquaintances take equal billing
on his own records: a
magnanimity that sees an
unknown Spanish singer who
“isn’t really a singer” on
Bacative, have a different
universality. It may not be as
awe-inspiring as before, but it’s
still more interesting than
almost anything else around.

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Domino | WIDCD 195

Reviewed by Jason Draper
<< Back to Issue 352

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