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4.8 out of 5 stars
39
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 14 August 2017
Great CD. Glad to gave this back in my collection.
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on 9 October 2016
In 1996, Everything But The Girl released their 8th studio album and it boasted a completely different sound and feel to any of their earlier efforts. Casual observers may have been slightly surprised but for long – term admirers it was simply the next logical step.

A Brief Historical Detour:

Ben Watts and Tracey Thorn met each other in 1981 when both attended Hull University and, by strange coincidence, both had just signed as solo artists to Cherry Red Records. They teamed up, professionally and personally, and formed EBTG which was really a band in name only, it consisted primarily of those two plus various session musicians.

Their first recordings (in a slightly jazzy pop style) were relatively successful and they soon became darlings of the indie scene, sharing a fan base demographic with the likes of The Smiths, Billy Bragg and The Style Council. Over the following few years they made some fine albums with Love Not Money and Idlewild being particular stand-outs.

By 1994 however things seemed to have hit a bit of a brick wall, artistically speaking. Their albums had become victims of the law of diminishing returns and that year’s Amplified Heart whilst still a decent album, just seemed to be lacking something, that little crucial spark of imagination.

A form of salvation emerged from a seemingly unlikely source. Ben Watt had become very interested in Dance music and when he got top producer/DJ Todd Terry to remix the album track “Missing” the result was extraordinary, a thumping track which, although seemingly upbeat, somehow captured a sound of isolation and loneliness, the feeling of being cut adrift as life passes you by.

It stormed the charts, becoming easily the band’s bestselling release to date and also the catalyst for a critical and commercial rebirth.

It was also a sound that EBTG were to embrace on their next album Walking Wounded.

Ben Watt had been playing, producing and programming on EBTG records for years of course but this was where he really came into his own. Using a laid-back Drum’n’Bass/Hip-Hop template he crafted a perfect soundscape for modern living. Cool, urban, detached.

Taken in isolation, as purely instrumental tracks, this would surely have been one of the top Electronica releases of the year, the music really is that good. If it wasn’t exactly ground-breaking pioneering stuff, well, that’s OK, not everything has to be.

The key to the whole album though, the magic ingredient which makes it so special, is the dichotomy between that music and the wonderful voice of Tracey Thorn.

It’s a voice which has a unique, haunting quality to it, she can sound lost and alone, fragile, yet warm and embracing at the same time.You’ll look (or listen) long and hard to find another voice with similar feeling, stranded and lovelorn, but in a good way!

Most of the songs seem to be about lost loves and broken relationships and it seems at times like the people involved are merely looking on, with a cold emotional detachment. That’s not really the case though, listen closely to the lyrics and it’s a different story. People are having their hearts broken and feeling abandoned. It comes through. Thorn’s lyrics may seem simplistic on first listen but she’s got a lot to say.

All in all, a fantastic effort by all concerned and easily one of the best albums of the 90’s.

And take a look at that cover, it’s a photo which, somehow, captures exactly what the album sounds like……
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on 9 October 2001
Definitely one of those 'soundtracks to life' albums (forget the hyped David Gray). Fantastically touching lyrics combined with a great, drum 'n' bass sound (less refined than Temperamental, the later album). Tracey Thorn's fabulous haunting voice carries emotion in an almost begrudging way. This album has a feeling of city life about it, a sort of urban feel. Enthralling, mourning and moving all at the same time.
Buy this and Temperamental to complete your record collection!
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'Walking Wounded' is the kind of album that shouldn't work for a number of reasons but does. Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt's songs of heartbreak, regret and insecurity always were suited to the 'softly softly touch' of acoustic guitars and lush strings so why on earth would anyone choose to try and produce them for the dance floor?

What allows EBTG to get away with this excursion into the world of Electronica is however the very same reason they sold loads of records in the first place - great song writing. 'Walking Wounded' proves both how great material however you dress it up is great material and that genuine emotions in a vocalist will always find a way of bubbling to the top no matter what the backing.

Tracey Thorn may not have the greatest range as a vocalist but her ability to draw you into sadness and melancholy has always been second to none. 'Single' is the best example of this. Those uncertain, panic filled days that inevitably follow the end of a long term relationship and that horrid moment when you stare about the four walls of a one bedroom flat and realise that you are alone once more are perfectly captured here. 'Wrong' meanwhile is an offshoot of the duo's previous 'Missing' and hints again at the obsessive side of its creators personality.

Throughout this album the marriage between all of the musical and lyrical elements is balanced to perfection. The temptation to 'let rip' and just allow the beats to dominate is wisely resisted and so the emphasis remains on the duo's songs and Tracey's voice. For this reason, while both the remixes tagged on at the end are sympathetically done and a pleasant diversion for the clubs, they do nothing to add to this set as an album listen which is why I have docked this CD a point here.

Great albums never include remixes of previous tracks but the nine songs that precede those two remixes are probably worth 5 star status and as another reviewer on here stated 'Walking Wounded' does have a habit of casting an even more powerful spell over you the more times you listen to it...
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on 18 November 2005
Launched into the spotlight with thier mammouth cross-over hit "Missing" (Thanks to a genius re-work by legendery Todd Terry), Everything But The Girl became somewhat reclusive with thier subsequent albums following "Amplified Heart". With this relase, one that didn't obtain nearly as much commercial success as it desserved, they bring perfection to thier previously often flawed 'Emotive Electro' style. As always, Tracey Thorn's vocals are perfect. At a time when gushing diva-esque vocalists with a range larger than Mariah Carey's were all the rage in dance music, Thorne's vocals provided (and still provide) a breath of fresh air. It's her stunning tone and the quality of her voice that is so outstanding rather than her range.
Aside from the vocals, production matches up and is brilliant throughout. The difficult task of bringing together the emotive lyrics and vocals provided by Thorn with the striking hooks and beats that make this an electro/drum and bass influenced recording has been completed successfuly. Everything just sounds fantastic and most tracks are both instantly distinctive and appealing. The two remixes that appear (courtesy of Omni Trio and Todd Terry) seem tacked on to beef up the tracklist but this can't really be said to flaw the album - there a nice little extra if nothing else. Overall, this is a much over-looked piece of Electronica history that anyone with even a slight liking/interest for the genre should adore.
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on 6 March 2003
Anyone who thinks Drum and Bass is just a lot of loud mindless noises strung one after the other should take a listen to this. What is so good about it is that the lyrics are up to EBTG's usual quality, and that there is a variety of rhythms used here, while still keeping it a bit techno. I love listening to this when I'm driving late at night, standout tracks for me are "Before Today", "Mirrorball", and "Good Cop, Bad Cop". Enjoy!
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on 22 February 2010
I was always aware of Everything But The Girl but frankly found them a bit lightweight and never took much notice of them. That all changed with the electronica remix of 'Missing' (which really should be on this album but isn't).

This is a perfectly judged album which in my mind blended the (then) contemporary sound of drum & bass with pop melodies that lighten a dense, heavy genre into something accessable and enjoyable. Also, the lyrics are superbly observed and written - I urge you to listen to them closely.

Random thoughts:

* The feeling of space in the title track is amazing
* 'Mirrorball' is the perfect song to listen to whilst sipping a Pimms & lemonade in the garden on a sunny summer day
* The drum breaks on the fade out of 'Before Today' are superb
* 'Big Deal' is the perfect "Oh grow up" song from a cheesed off girlfriend to a pathetic boyfriend
* 'Single' has one of the most moving lyrics regarding a break up that I have ever heard. It sums up perfectly the "oh my, what have I done" feeling and I know that it has inspired at least one person I know to fix their relationship rather than walk out on it.
* 'Good Cop Bad Cop' - the drum beats from 2:30 onwards are awesome
* The two remixs on the end have no business being there and smack to me of filling up the play list. I never listen to them.

In summary this is honestly my favourite album of all time. Fact. Buy it.
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on 13 February 2002
The tracks on this CD are some of the most atmospheric, haunting ever. Listen to the CD and hear all your life experiences put to superb melody and beats. Essential!
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on 6 April 2012
Some people only know EBTG for their mainly acoustic work and dismiss EBTG's so-called 'Drum & Bass' era.
I think this is short-sighted.
This is not so much 'Drum & Bass' as percussive electronica and as such provides a perfect foil to Tracey's wonderful, emotive and richly toned voice.
This music gives more on each listen.
Hypnotic, soulful, melodic and emotive.

Another EBGT classic.
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on 16 November 1999
I purchased this cd after I bought Amplified Heart and the sound is quite similar. There are the token remixes of a few songs ("Walking Wounded" and "Wrong") which are very good - as is "Missing" from Amplified Heart. The other songs are also very mellow, and great to listen to. Very similar to the other release and if you enjoyed one you will surely enjoy the other. Again, do not expect to find a cd full of faster paced, dance songs. I would strongly recommend this cd to many listeners.
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