Kidsticks von Beth Orton



Beth Orton

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Label: Anti/Epitaph
For six albums Beth Orton's songs have had a deep longing and a bruised fragility at their core, but on Kidsticks, her first album in four years, something has changed. Moving to California two years ago might account for it. Where once there was emotional austerity and a lonely, lovely otherness, there is now a certainty and a spirited audaciousness. A winter baby, the December-born Orton has written about snow before on 2006’s “Sweetest Decline.” Here it’s not a barren moonscape but a tribal stomp, full of voodoo magic, portents and blood feuds, sung like she was an added member of the Dixie Cups on “Iko Iko.” Deeply ontological, “Petals” is a medieval chant as authentic and unnerving as if she was singing it within the ring of the boulders at Stonehenge, while “Wave” feels like a James Bond theme song, cloaked in mystery and intrigue. But it’s “Flesh and Blood” that takes Orton to new heights: her distinctive soprano is pitched lower, and she sings with a breezy lightness of spirit that reminds you of Joni Mitchell before the bitterness and the chain smoking.

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