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Tricky: Blowback

It’s must be difficult being trip-hop figurehead Tricky. He built his career as a postmodern grim reaper, foretelling all sorts of emotional and psychological destruction on the eve of the apocalypse-read: 21st century-but then Y2K paranoia climaxed into one of the biggest letdowns of the century. It left him looking like a babbling buffoon. With Blowback (Hollywood PRCD-62285-2; 50:40), the prince of premillennium tension sinks into postmillennium tedium as he tries to shed some sunshine through his murky soundscapes and creepy, but at times undeniably sensual, musings. The attempts to offer a little upbeat yin to his massively gloomy yang is admirable on the frat-boy romper “Wonder Woman,” which features Red Hot Chili Peppers John Frusciante and Flea, and the cutesy “Your Name,” on which Ambersunshower’s girlish voice coos on top of candy-coated keyboards and crudely constructed beats, providing the best estrogen-fueled soundtrack for soft-porn since Vanity 6. But in a whirlwind of special guests that even includes Cyndi Lauper, Tricky gets lost in an erratic program that leaves the impish artist searching desperately for a new identity. By the time you get to the last track, you’ll be yearning for those ironically good ole days, when Tricky was his pissiest.

Originally Published