This record was a great surprise and is a true pleasure. Thorn has made a gorgeous album: eleven tracks mesh a domestic setting and soulful feelings with electronica beats laced with piano and strings. All the while she masters (as she has for a great many years) the fine art of infusing her voice with a wistful sadness but letting the delivery be glassy and poised. The true depth of emotion only partly seeps through; the listener gets the feeling that something more painful is held out of view.
A loose concept seems to jaunt through the album: The setting is usually domestic; the mood is that of a soulful house party, swaying between meditation and disco. The quiet, almost whispered vocals of the opening tracks set to strings shimmy into the dance beats of "It's all true" and "Get Around to it"; the light-footed "Hands up to the ceiling" gives way to a deep-beated, high-vocalled exploration of love ("if there's any doubt / You're better off without"), the mid-tempo "Falling off a log" and onto the dancefloor of "Grand Canyon" with its throbbing refrain. The party arc is brought to a close not in the thoughtful reflection of "By Piccadilly Station" but with the beat-led "Raise the roof", leaving you with the feeling that the party shimmies on.
If there is one weakness, it would lie in the programming: the voguish club beats are occasionally too banal or unadventurous (e.g. "Grand Canyon", "Get Around to it"). But this doesn't stop the album being genuinely fresh and quirky, especially in its interweaving of intimacy, experiences of motherhood and electronica (which reminded me of Kate Bush's "Aeriel"). Thorn shows off her skills as a talented lyricist, demonstrating a facility with rhymes and threading some great lyric flourishes in: "Nowhere near" finds her "crying, confessing, and counting my blessings"; later she sings plaintively, "Do you ever wonder where love goes?/ Out there in the ether, I suppose / Sometimes it burns enough to leave a trace in the air / A ghost of me and you in a parallel world somewhere". And the emotional climax of the album (for me) is expressed in the sense of waneful regret in the couplets of the final track: "All those years I wasted / Sitting on my own / Think what I could have tasted / If I'd only known".
Stand-out tracks: "Here it comes again", "A-Z", "Raise the roof", "Hands up to the ceiling"