Tricky: False Idols (False Idols) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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False Idols

False Idols

Jun 13, 2013 Tricky Bookmark and Share

R.E.M., U2, Weezer… there is a huge list of artists who were consistently outstanding throughout most of the ‘90s (yes, Pop was great) but whose output declined into what can generously be described as patchy. By varying gradients their waning tended to be successive, slipping album-by-album.

Few watersheds are as clearly defined as Tricky’s though; from pioneering work with Massive Attack and a succession of stunning solo albums (including the timeless Maxinquaye) to the shocker that was Blowback, the 2001 record was a nadir that has thankfully never been matched but began a steady stream of bad ideas. So, as has been the case for a dozen years now I guess, is False Idols Tricky’s proverbial return to form? The answer is a resoundingly strangled “eh.”

It probably shouldn’t be quite so pleasing to report that there’s nothing on here as hideous as, say, Cyndi Lauper duet “Five Days.” In fact, the most pleasant surprise of this album is the number of decent ideas that are scattered across its 15 tracks. Opener “Somebody’s Sins” is a Patti Smith cover, done with admirable restraint and delicately interwoven vocals that alleviate all of the original’s wanky portentousness; “Chinese Interlude” is positively pretty with arpeggiated acoustic guitars and comforting bass drum; “Nothing’s Changed” has choppy strings and percussion backing a low mumble from Francesca Belmonte that recalls Tricky’s earlier work. Meanwhile lead single “Parenthesis” is the highlight, combining a genuinely great riff that sounds like Zeppelin reimagined by Trent Reznor and adds a typically stunning vocal by The Antlers’ Peter Silberman.

The issue that plagues False Idols is that we only ever seem to hear the seed of each idea. Credit goes to Tricky for variety, but it would be a more rewarding experience if we were able to listen to the songs evolve and develop. Great that the ideas exist, but they clearly haven’t inspired. (

Author rating: 6/10

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