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Everything But The Girl's Tracey Thorn Sets May Release for New Solo Album

02/22/2010
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After pausing an 18-year career with partner Ben Watt in best-selling alt-pop duo Everything But The Girl (1982-2000), followed by a self-imposed hiatus to start a family, Tracey Thorn re-emerged in 2007 to a wave of critical acclaim with the glittering autobiographical folk-disco of Out of the Woods, her first solo album since 1982's indie classic A Distant Shore. Now she is back with another: the starkly beautiful Love and Its Opposite on Merge Records.

Partnering again with Berlin-based producer Ewan Pearson (who worked on much of Out of the Woods), Thorn has created an album that is striking in its simplicity. "It's a record about the person I am now and the people around me," she observes. "About real life after forty."

Recorded in Berlin and London, the ten-song collection boasts eight original compositions and two covers (a duet with Jens Lekman on Lee Hazlewood's "Come On Home To Me" and a poignant reading of The Unbending Trees' "You Are A Lover"). The album also features guests such as Hot Chip's Al Doyle, The Invisible's Leo Taylor, Nashville songwriter-drummer Cortney Tidwell and Lost Valentinos' guitarist Jono Ma.

The spare arrangements for guitar, piano, bass, and drums serve ten songs over a compact thirty-nine minutes that confront the realities of life in its middle years: marriage and divorce ("Long White Dress" and "Oh, The Divorces!"); family ghosts ("Kentish Town"); confronting life alone ("Singles Bar"); and the collision of youth and adulthood ("Hormones"). In talking about "Why Does The Wind?" and "Late In The Afternoon," Thorn notes, "Life needs stamina. Love is often either under threat or being urged to stand the test of time." The album closes with "Swimming" (featuring Cortney Tidwell on drums and backing vocals). "I really wanted it to be the closing track," she says. "It holds out hope for love's survival even when it seems to be in hibernation."

It's hard to find a decade recently where Tracey Thorn's songwriting has not been influential. Often overlooked by those who choose to focus on her uniquely sensual yet confessional voice, her direct, unadorned stories have cut through to find many reverent supporters. Fresh out of school in the UK in the early 1980s, she formed the cult girl band Marine Girls, whose two-album career of edgy teen love songs has influenced lo-fi indie bands ever since. Among noted Marine Girls fans you'll find Kurt Cobain (Nirvana was reportedly rehearsing "In Love" before Cobain's untimely passing) and The xx. In 1982, Thorn released her solo debut, the eight-song classic A Distant Shore, which catapulted her to the top of the UK indie charts. Throughout the 1980s, she shared writing with partner Ben Watt in the British duo Everything But The Girl (EBTG). In the '90s, she co-wrote EBTG's global smash "Missing" and Massive Attack's sem inal "Protection," and contributed centrally to EBTG's best-selling electronica crossover albums Walking Wounded and Temperamental. In 2006, she returned to the dance floor, writing "Damage" for cult German duo Tiefschwarz before releasing Out of the Woods in 2007.

Love and Its Opposite also signals Thorn's return to the independent scene and unites her in a fresh alliance with longtime partner Ben Watt. The album will be released in the UK on Watt's Strange Feeling Records, (sister imprint to his dance and electronica label, Buzzin' Fly Reords) where she joins label mates such as The Unbending Trees and Copenhagen's Figurines. Merge Records will release the album in North America, making Thorn one of only a handful of UK artists to have graced the illustrious Stateside independent.

Love and Its Opposite will be released on May 18.

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