Saturday, June 03, 2006

Music Review -- Comfort of Strangers by Beth Orton

Beth Orton’s new disc is produced by Jim O’Rourke, who has worked with Wilco among other bands, and he helps this album avoid some of the muddled sounds of Daybreaker. While not a terrible album, Daybreaker lacked many of the subtleties of Orton’s previous albums. The disc was also upstaged by the B-sides collection, The Other Side of Daybreak.

On Comfort of Strangers, Orton mixes some up-tempo tunes with a bunch of ballads and introspective songs. Her voice sounds as good as it has ever sounded. Shadow of a Doubt is one of the standout tunes with Orton singing, “Its true your love has been a lesson/And its taught me more than any other blessing…” Really there are many strong songs and I keep finding more new and neat things about this CD the more I listen to it. The focus here is squarely on her writing, which as always, is bittersweet in the best way possible. The electronic influences are less prominent here, though the stripped down sound works great with her voice. This disc cements Orton as one of the best singer-songwriters of the last few years. This is another great effort by Beth Orton and well worth many listens.

3.00 out of 4.00 on the Vin Swanson Scale

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