Tricky’s 13th album is billed as “a journey into happiness and contentment”, a description that sounds incongruous to anyone who knows the veteran British rapper/producer’s earlier work. Recorded in the Bristolian’s newly adopted home of Berlin, this is the first album created by trip-hop pioneer Adrian Thaws without monetary obligations. If this is the sound of Tricky at peace, we should be grateful we don’t share his head space – he’s hardly hanging out the bunting.
The “happiness and contentment” here bristle with menace, and Tricky’s new inner peace finds him exploring his past. “I’ve got nothing to prove now, and I’m comfortable with referencing myself,” the 49-year-old has said. The hushed tones and creeping beats may not be as groundbreaking as they once were, but Tricky’s gruff delivery – reunited here with the vocals of Martina Topley-Bird (from his 1995 debut album, Maxinquaye) – on lead single When We Die manages to send glorious shivers up the spine.