Tracey Thorn is set to release her new album 'Love And Its Opposite' on 17th May, 2010 on Strange Feeling Records.
"When I was young, I imagined middle age to be a kind of comfort zone, but in fact, having got here, I now feel it's more of a war zone. The songs are where I dump all that shit so that I can get on with my life without jumping off a bridge."
This is the thought that leads Tracey Thorn into the starkly beautiful Love And Its Opposite, a collection of songs that are happy and sad, easy and difficult, dark and light.
Tracey Thorn, of course, needs little introduction. She's the unique voice behind Everything But The Girl, the duo whose 18-year career went on hiatus in 2000 to allow the singer to raise her family ("I wrote nothing at all for years when I first had the kids," she says).
With new experiences to process, she returned to a wave of critical acclaim in 2007 with Out Of The Woods, her first solo album since 1982's A Distant Shore. Love And Its Opposite represents her next move, and it's a reunion of sorts with her Everything But The Girl partner Ben Watt, who releases the album on his Strange Feeling label.
Working once again with Berlin-based producer Ewan Pearson (who collaborated with Thorn on Out Of The Woods before lending his talents to hot new act Delphic), the album was recorded in London and Berlin, where, Tracey says, "it was born in very humble surroundings. Everything about the first bit of recording was incredibly basic, with me playing everything myself, and on a very limited range of instruments."
The album's less sparse moments are populated by a fantastic cast of guest performers, all of who have a personal connection to Tracey. They are Hot Chip's Al Doyle (guitar & bass), The Invisible's Leo Taylor (drums), singer-songwriter Jens Lekman (guest vocals), Nashville-based singer-songwriter-drummer Cortney Tidwell (backing vocals, drums), and Los Valentinos's guitarist Jono.
Love And Its Opposite is, says Tracey, "a record about the person I am now and the people around me. About real life after 40." Here, covers of Lee Hazelwood's "Come On Home To Me" (a duet with Jens Lekman) and "You Are A Lover" by Budapest's The Unbending Trees, with whom Tracey collaborated in 2008, join eight originals, each of which tackles head-on the realities of life in its middle years, whether marriage and divorce, (Long White Dress and Oh, The Divorces!), family ghosts (Kentish Town), confronting life alone (Singles Bar) or the collision of youth and adulthood (Hormones).
The album climaxes with "Swimming", featuring Cortney Tidwell. "I really wanted it to be the closing track," says Tracey. "It holds out hope for love's survival even when it seems to be in hibernation."
Tracey Thorn's songwriting is the stuff of legend. Fresh out of school in the UK in the early '80s, she formed the cult band Marine Girls, whose two-album career of edgy love songs have influenced lo-fi indie bands ever since: noted fans include Kurt Cobain (Nirvana were reportedly rehearsing In Love before Cobain's death) and The XX.
In the '90s, Thorn co-wrote EBTG's global smash "Missing" before delivering lyrics, title, melody and vocals for one the decade's seminal ballads, Massive Attack's "Protection". In 2006 she returned to the dancefloor, writing "Damage" for cult German techno duo Tiefschwarz.
Despite spending time out of the public eye in the 2000s, Tracey has been keen to stay engaged with her fans in recent years via MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, where she now corresponds daily, posting photos of her garden, providing Spotify playlists and making casual observations on everything from politics to pop. "At its best, Twitter is a bit like being down the pub," she says. "You can drop in, see who's there, announce something to whoever is sitting at the bar, then sit down in a corner and join in a conversation or watch a fight."
One of her favourite subjects is The X Factor, though that's not necessarily to say she endorses it. "My kids asked me this year, 'If you went on the auditions, would they recognise you?' and I thought that was very funny. Even funnier really is the thought that I probably wouldn't get through. Simon Cowell made a joke this year about Stacey being 'a singing candle' because she couldn't dance and sing, and I thought that summed up my entire career. He was implying that a singing candle couldn't have a successful career in music. Clearly, that's not the case."
There is currently a free download of opening track "Oh, The Divorces!" available from Strange Feeling Records.
For the latest music, news and information, go to: