After the triumphant comeback that was 2008's Knowle West Boy, the smart money would have been for Tricky to continue making the type of hard, brooding underground music that put him on the map in the first place. But he's named Tricky for a reason, which is why his ninth effort, Mixed Race, sees him pursuing his own widespread world music interests, with wildly mixed results.
The biggest shock of all starts with the singer himself - or the lack of him. Here he's largely content to coo and growl around an array of male and female vocalists, without a single memorable lyric. Instead he's taken on more of a producer role and the music reeks of Paris, where he is believed to live.
Kingston Logic is a vague, hybrid of bouncy Jamaican and London dance styles, while Hakim boasts a distinctly Middle Eastern club sound. The singer takes on slinky jazz (Early Bird), the kind of Eurodisco Kylie Minogue could cover with Time To Dance and a blatant update of the Peter Gunn theme in Murder Weapon.
It all makes for a confusing, scattershot album, although the sexy male-female interplay on Ghetto Stars shows that the singer still knows how to hit the spot - if 1994 is what you're looking for.