Has their proved a more pleasing or fruitful reunion in recent years than that of Everything But The Girl? Formed in 1982, the dance-pop duo – consisting of husband and wife team Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt – have spent the past two decades on separate, successful solo projects and raising their family. It was during lockdown that the pair toyed with the idea of a new record and gingerly began working together.
Speaking to NME, Watt said that it needed to make sense artistically and in their life now: “We wanted to come back with something modern-sounding. We’re not out there on the heritage trail doing ‘best of’ tours or playing arenas. We just wanted to make a piece of work that would sound great now in 2023. That was the driver.”
‘Fuse’, their first album since 1999, is precisely that: the blueprint for any alt-leaning electronic act in the pop space. Both have remained active in their respective projects as solo artists and released memoirs. Even so, they remain both aligned with the pulse and thump of their contemporaries and ahead of the game. Their comeback song ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ is a fine example, its Bicep-esque beat showing that they’ve earned the right to keep pushing forward, and not slip into nostalgia for an easy win.
The remainder of ‘Fuse’ follows suit. ‘Caution To The Wind’ has a steady but satisfying build as Thorn’s vocals and melodies are as catchy as their 1996 hit ‘Missing’. Thorn again shines on album highlight ‘No One Knows We’re Dancing’, a boy-meets-girl tale of parking tickets stuck to a Fiat Cinquecento, a gentle pet-shop employee hitting the town, and the refuge of the dancefloor while “the sun is blinding” outside the club. In lesser hands, a paean to the rave would feel generic, but Thorn’s vivid lyrics bring romance to a well-trodden arena.
Beyond the release of this project, the band have little in the way announced for upcoming shows, but the strength of their return on ‘Fuse’ is plenty. This is the rare occasion of a reunion between collaborators – as partners, parents, creators – that proves how big an impact their music has made on the landscape that has followed, and to enjoy and seize this moment while it’s here.
- Release date: April 21, 2023
- Record label: Buzzin’ Fly Records