Reflecting: Orton’s last full length, Daybreaker, to these ears, was actually far better than most critics (Beth included) allowed for. That being said, it was no Central Reservation, or Trailer Park for that matter.
First impressions: Comfort of Strangers finds Orton in the capable hands of producer Jim O’Rourke, the album also finds her working in the most stylistically organic state yet, with little synthetic instrumentation, which was seemingly her bread and butter since her first work with The Chemical Brothers in the mid ’90s. In their stead are live drums, harmonica fills, slide guitar, and sparse piano chording, allowing room for Orton’s always captivating voice to command the tracks like never before.
How will this release measure up to her back-catalog? Right now it’s sitting even with Daybreaker — but these type of albums tend to creep — growers if you will. Ask me again in six months.
MP3: Beth Orton :: Pieces of Sky
Amazon: Beth Orton – Comfort of Strangers
Morning Becomes Eclectic: August 23, 2002