Originally, Tricky's new record was to be helmed by ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, the hot-handed producer behind Duffy's breakthrough and the Black Kids' recent debut. That partnership, however, ended swiftly and acrimoniously, with Butler demanding a co-production credit that reportedly delayed its release. (Tricky inevitably self-produced.) Butler might consider himself lucky he got out when he did, as Tricky's ideas are scattered all over the place and Knowle West Boy is mostly a mess.
Many will come expecting a nocturnal, brooding sound similar to that of fellow Bristol bands Portishead and Massive Attack, and to a small extent he delivers. Bacative, for instance, smoulders nicely. But all the feeble funk-rock attempts (C'mon Baby, Slow) and the grating exhibitionism of Past Mistake, where he and ex-lover Lubna chronicle their breakup, are the kind of bad ideas good producers advise against. Butler probably couldn't say shit to Tricky.
Tricky plays the Phoenix Tuesday (September 9).