Lincoln Hall; Mon 13
No one would ever expect Tricky to pull a Phil Collins and dump a covers album on us. It would be not only horrifically out of character but unnecessary. He’s always worn his influences on his sleeve. On the Bristol native’s brilliant 1995 full-length debut, Maxinquaye, he remade Public Enemy’s eerie prison-break narrative “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” into a sleek house-punk hybrid. In short order, he became the flagship artist of trip-hop, a tag he’s been trying to shake for the last 15 years.
Following 2008’s return to form, Knowle West Boy, Tricky’s new Mixed Race nods to some unexpected influences. The heartbeat-like pulse of opening track “Every Day” is a ringer for David Essex’s “Rock On.” “Early Bird,” the most autobiographical tune on this set, takes the jazzy lilt and phrasing of the cabaret standard “The Best Is Yet to Come” and melts it down to a stark shell of a song. His raspy mumble is barely audible but still inimitable.
Replacing Martina Topley-Bird, singer Franky Riley is the latest lady to carry out Tricky’s bidding. She’s adept on “Murder Weapon,” a cover like “Black Steel”—except this time, any trace of trance or house culture is absent. Instead, it’s an homage to Echo Minott’s dancehall original, riding on the tinny guitar riff from the “Peter Gunn Theme.” Having come to terms with his own musical legacy, Tricky’s burrowing into it with remarkable clarity for someone who’s spent his entire career shrouded in a veil of blunt smoke.