Beth Orton: Comfort Of Strangers
Hip ’90s folkie edges ever closer to the coffee table
Of course, aside from her voice’s undeniable, slightly husky-yet-soothing quality, Orton’s songwriting has always been left of centre and her fourth album is no exception. Wistful opener ‘Worms’ borrows its rhythm from, of all things, Queen’s ‘Killer Queen’; ‘Rectify’ twists and turns all over the shop, while you somehow doubt that a song called ‘Absinthe’ would ever permeate a Katie Melua tracklist. But the sad fact is that elsewhere, on the likes of the title track and ‘Safe In Your Arms’ there’s simply too much finger-picking and lyrics that concern relationship ‘issues’ of the adult-shopping-in-IKEA variety. Maybe Beth Orton, unlike some of her still-desperate-for-kudos contemporaries, is merely growing old gracefully, but clearly gracefully aging doesn’t necessarily make for great records.
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