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Beth Orton - Kidsticks

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 16 / 6 / 2016

Beth Orton - Kidsticks
Label: Anti Records
Format: CD


Experimental sixth album from critically acclaimed British singer-songwriter and musician, Beth Orton

Beth Orton is celebrating twenty years since the launch of her debut album, 'Trailer Park', on Heavenly Records in 1996. Twenty years later sees her married, a mother, on a new label, Anti (this being her second release for it), and after a spell in California returning home to the UK to live and tour. Beth Orton still remains my favourite female solo artist of all time, and on 'Kidsticks', her sixth studio album, she still has a lot to say. Recorded with Andrew Hung from Fuck Buttons, the delivery is simple but effective. 'Kidsticks' is an album mostly of one-worded song titles, and 'Snow' takes Beth on a heavy dance trip, where she has been before, but here, for the first time, there are no guitars. The vocal itself sounds as if it is on a loop and echoes those of Bjork. 'Moon' is in more familiar territory. It haunts in a heart-grabbing way and has an Oriental touch, but is still firmly in a groove that makes you want to move. 'Petal' is an experiment in ambience. Samplers fade in and out, but Beth's vocal remains the dominant instrument. As it glides along. it has touches of Shoegaze. '1973' recollects Depeche Mode in its industrial sound and is very commercial, but with a warm and friendly delivery in its words. 'Wave' is more broody and reflective, a looking back sort of song, somewhere between the oddness of early 4AD records and the classic sound of the Beth Orton band sound. 'Dawnstar' is bigger, an honest song with a classic feel, a song to make you fall in love with her again. 'Falling' has a romantic 1980's feel. I really like this one as it's returning to her roots and her original greatness. 'Corduroy Legs', one of the longest titles on here, is a spoken word piece, almost a poem with very gentle backing. 'Flesh and Blood' is faster with electro backing. The vocals flow like freshly opened champagne, and are just as stromg as anything on her first two albums, 'Trailer Park' and 'Central Reservation'. 'Kidsticks', the title track, is the shortest number, an odd mix of Chinese-style vibes with plucked guitar strings, which is totally beautiful as is all of this very wonderful return, Welcome home, Beth.

Track Listing:-
1 Snow
2 Moon
3 Petals
4 1973
5 Wave
6 Dawnstar
7 Falling
8 Corduroy Legs
9 Flesh and Blood
10 Kidsticks

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live reviews

London Electric Ballroom, 9/7/2002
Beth Orton - London Electric Ballroom, 9/7/2002
English singer-songwriter Beth Orton is back with both a new band and an accclaimed new album 'Daybreaker' . Long term fan Anthony Strutt finds her to be on powerful form at a show at London's Electric Ballroom

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Central Reservation (2014)
Beth Orton - Central Reservation
In our 'Re:View' section, in which our writers look back at albums from the past, Anthony Strutt reflects on English singer-songwriter Beth Orton's 1999 album 'Central Reservation', which has just been re-released in a new double CD edition
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