Out of the Woods

Studio Album by released in 2007
Out of the Woods's tracklist:
Here It Comes Again
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A-Z
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It's All True
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Get Around to It
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Hands Up to the Ceiling
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Easy
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Falling off a Log
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Nowhere Near
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Grand Canyon
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By Piccadilly Station I Sat Down and Wept
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Raise the Roof
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Out of the Woods review

First solo album from Tracey Thorn for over two decades

Raising three children kept Tracey Thorn all but completely away from music for several years. It's been a while since anyone's heard from Everything But The Girl's singer. In fact, it's been nearly a decade since this band’s Temperamental (1999), after which the duet went on extended hiatus and, perhaps more accurately, singer Thorn went on extended maternity leave. There was no concerts, no appearances on the stage, no one recording note during five years: only family, family, family. Sure, there was an Everything But The Girl with Thorn’s longtime partner Ben Watt. However, no one had heard a freshly recorded peep from Thorn until she resurfaced singing with Tiefschwarz in 2006. Thorn even thought it possible at one point that she might not record again. However, it got her thinking, why not make a new album? Said and done, she started to do primarily work with her friend-producer Ewan Pearson, but also with a whole bunch of others like Martin Wheeler, Alex Santos, Charles Webster and Tom Gandey. The result is Out Of The Woods. Tracey has returned with help from several collaborators to make her second solo album, released 25 years after her first debut mini-work A Distant Shore.

Spellbinding mix of shimmering folk and shimmying disco

The emergence of Tracey Thorn from retirement should not, by rights, have resulted in one of the most dynamic, forward-thinking pop albums of the year so far. However, the spellbinding mix of shimmering folk and shimmying disco on Out Of The Woods eclipses her past work. Out Of The Woods, like much Everything But The Girl before it, is a set of torch songs versed in the production techniques of clubland, but shot through with a melancholy soul more familiar to jazz or folk-rock - or, indeed, cosmic disco pioneer Arthur Russell, whose Get Around To It Thorn covers here, and all but makes it her own. Lyrically, events hint at a certain domesticity: Nowhere Near is a delicate song about motherhood sung over shimmering synths, piano, and pipes, while Hands Up To The Ceiling seems to be about finding sanctuary in a record collection. On A-Z she takes a touching tale of a bullied kid leaving home for the metropolis and sets it against a spine-tinglingly spare electronic motif. The throbbing Grand Canyon and the closing Raise The Roof are two potential club hits, which make Thorn sound a little bit hesitating, like a guest on her own album. But the outcome is an open-hearted and light-footed set of electro-soul, best when at its most optimistic melodies and endearing words.

Tracey Torn and her eternal way to the light

The new album Out Of The Woods is a true reflection of who Tracey Thorn is right now and what she loves right now. She wanted to find something that would be simple in use, but sounded very uncommon. Musically it is a snapshot of so much music she has ever been into and about, capturing moments of late 70s disco, pastoral folk-psychedelic, dance floor pop bliss and stark balladry. Tracey Thorn also chooses a very strange title for the record. She explains it: “Quasi, the sense is that I leave the darkness, the twilight and enter the light. A great number of songs have words about the fact, how the sunrays slip through the trees, how people see this light. I want to say that even if some of the songs are told about difficult problems and sorrows, here people can find a clear appeal to the positive emotions, there is the light in the dark”. No doubt, Tracey's voice is forever one of British pop's better instruments, it will always be a thing of undimmed charm and emotion. And only Thorn's voice could have strung these 11 tracks into a fantastic clutch of sounds with a seamless ratio of jump to consequence.