Tricky: Ununiform (False Idols/!K7) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, May 25th, 2020  

Tricky

Ununiform

False Idols/!K7

Sep 25, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Since 1996's Pre-Millennium Tension, Adrian Thaw, aka Tricky, has unrightfully faded from the realm of influence, mapping a legacy that hides in poorly referenced and footnoted Wikipedia pages. Music and its fans are no less fickle today as they were then, and from the heavy reliance on journalistic labels, the Bristol-born artist finds himself as a relic of trip hop's heralded history.

Look past the label and witness an artist who flows unlike any other British rapper, along with the most distinctive voice and rasp that grates like a razor across leathered skin. Tricky's brilliance has always rested on his methods to blend unlikely elements into his iteration of hip-hop music. The most ingenious touch has, and always will be, his go-to collaborator, Martina Topley-Bird. His understated flow fills churns discomforting responses, but Topley-Bird's billowy delivery helps to peel away the serrating edges from Tricky's coarseness.

Ununiform finds Tricky blending his Guyanese influences together with R&B, reggae, house, and Russian hip-hop, creating an experience that transcends most contemporary listening experiences. Approaching this album with the expectation that Tricky somehow breaks new ground is presumptuous. However, the unnerving air of pressure permeates throughout his best album since Pre-Millennium Tension. The album's second track says it all about Ununiform: "Same as It Ever Was."

Or is it? The verse following Tricky's coming out of nowhere from rapper Scriptonite is in Russian. The slow grind ends abruptly, leaving the song's essence in the balance. Unsettling listeners is an art, an art which Tricky perfected. "New Stole" spikes the ambience with gospel weariness, while Mina Rose's contribution to the Yeezus-tinted "Dark Days" permits Tricky to reclaim what first belonged to the genre he shaped, one that Kanye West borrowed from without properly acknowledging it.

"Armor" begs to be Ununiform's single, featuring a plaintive melody from Terra Lopez over an apocalyptic dancefloor beat. A cover of Hole's "Doll Parts" (renamed "Doll") appears anachronistic, but Tricky takes special care to preserve the song's mournful mood without Courtney Love's wails and growls. What Tricky does not do is pull the classic track into the transverse space the trip hop genre creates.

Fragments of songs appear and fail to materialize into full-length songs with overladen hooks. Scriptonite returns on "Bang Boogie," given only one verse over a beat that begs to extend its stay. Contrasting the fragments are tracks like "When We Die," featuring Topley-Bird's melodically luring and soulful hook. The desire of fans of Tricky is the wish for more tracks like "When We Die," yet, Tricky's vision stems from his experimental nature and inclusive wish to include the music he loves on his growing catalog of risks and rewards. (www.trickysite.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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