Tracey Thorn's TINSEL AND LIGHTS [2012]

The one that almost got away...

It may come as somewhat of a shock to regular viewers but your boy HERC ain't the brightest bulb in the strand.  Try as he might to keep his finger on the pulse of the music industry, occasionally a new release will sneak past his vigilant watch.  Tracey Thorn's Tinsel and Lights came out last year and HERC only read about it in October of this year as he was gearing up for which Christmas albums he'd be on the prowl for this year.  (Had HERC known his blog buddy Mark* at this time last year, maybe Mark would have clued him in - he's a fan of Everything But The Girl)  Long story short (too late?), the disc resides in the special Holiday Music wing of The Audio Archives here at The Hideaway.

On the joy to melancholy scale, Tinsel and Lights tends towards the melancholy (self-penned "Joy" and a cover of Joni's "River" kind of seal that deal) but it is still worthy of repeated listenings, with several of the few upbeat songs like "Maybe This Christmas", "In The Cold, Cold Night" and Snow In Sun" earning a spot in the rotation of regularly played Christmas songs.  [HERC's rule of thumb for this is two-fold: 1) if MRS. HERC likes it and 2) if he hums a song at any point in the 24 hour period immediately after hearing it.]  HERC ain't no hipster but he knows Ms. Thorn is a hip, hip chick with a Holiday album worth hearing better late than never.

Tracey's voice is unique in music and HERC finds it soothing.  Along with Ben Watt (who plays on several songs here), she is Everything But The Girl, best known for the Todd Terry remix of their song "Missing" (above).  The group hasn't released any new material since 1999 while Tinsel and Lights is Thorn's third solo outing.  It's worth noting that Mr. Scritti Politti himself, Green Gartside, joins Tracey on the album's "Taking Down The Tree".

*Mark over at The CD Project reviewed Amplified Heart in February 2012.

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