Despite a busy music career, it has taken a quarter of a century for Tracey Thorn to produce the follow-up to 'A Distant Shore'. A stunning debut by anyone's standards, the key was its simplicity with just Thorn's pure voice and glistening guitar melodies for company. Since then, Thorn has enjoyed a long career with partner Ben Watt in Everything But The Girl; a band who never quite reached their potential until their reinvention as one of the leading lights of the trip-hop revolution. Since then Thorn has been used as a hired hand for melancholic electronic tracks. A little disappointingly, 'Out Of The Woods' is more in touch with her later career than her earlier material.
In fact the album sounds like a record for techno producers to show off their skills whilst Thorn produces her usual reliable performance. It's not a bad idea of course, particularly when the hooks are as strong as on 'It's All True' and the sensuous 'Get Around To It', 'Easy' is a successful match-up of rainy day melancholia and electronica whilst 'Grand Canyon' is a decent bedfellow for EBTG's 'Missing'; these are the kind of intelligent recordings that give club music a good name. Quieter tracks fare less well; 'Nowhere Near' and 'Hands Up To The Ceiling' seem to be crying out for the glory days of yore but fade away from memory too easily; in contrast, 'By Piccadilly Station...' demonstrates more depth of feeling but ends too quickly. So despite never being less than classy, 'Out Of The Woods' disappoints because it fails to portray Thorn as anything but a great singer of modern club tunes.