Tricky's ninth studio album, Mixed Race, could be described as his 'guitar album' as many of the tracks revolve around guest guitarist Hakim Hamadouche's riffs. The album is also slightly confused and at less than 30 minutes, painfully short.
The ten brief tracks are not given time to breathe, evolve or emote as they did on Tricky's seminal and albatross-like debut Maxinquaye. Nor are these tunes made for the feet; Tricky himself states on the album's press release: 'I don't give a shit about clubs'.
The album starts with the laid back riffs of 'Every Day'; resident guest vocalist for the album Franky Riley supplies the lead, with Tricky whispering menacingly in the background. All would be well with the track if it lived to its potential and evolved or exploded, rather than fading out after two-and-a-half minutes.
'Kingston Logic', the album's second track, raises the bar. On the face of it it sounds like the soundtrack to an Apple advert, but the Daft Punk-like revolving lyrics stop to allow Tricky to take centre stage. He bursts into the track with real passion in his potty-mouthed drawl.
Unfortunately, this early high water mark is never reached again. 'Early Bird' is an exercise in primary school rhyming; 'my legs turn to jelly, prison is smelly'. The ironically entitled 'Time To Dance' is one of many tracks that briefly lives to leave no impression.
There is a brief reprieve with lead single 'Murder Weapon'. The track is a re-imagining of Echo Minott's 90's hit, and Tricky has pushed the sampled 'Peter Gunn' bassline up in the mix. Tricky's version of the track and accompanying video evoke memories of French film 'La Haine', and this is no bad thing.
The lack of space on Mixed Race is the album's downfall. A crescendo, change of pace or even just sticking around would improve all of these tracks, as well as a (as the album was recorded in Paris) raison d'être.