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Tricky: Pre-Millennium Tension

In a world where “the sound of urban decay” comes in a glossy, retread R&B package, Tricky’s Pre-Millennium Tension (Island 314-524302-2, 45:34) sounds positively revolutionary. Where others rely on militaristic sameness, Tricky’s music sounds like a series of sonic accidents, like a band stumbling across ideas in warm-up (as opposed to a band in pop-performance lockstep). But then again it’s hard to imagine anything else that would suit Tricky’s introverted lyrical ramblings. His passing reference to “The Message” in “Vent” is more than a mere conceit. With its numbing backwards-tape figure, which slowly degenerates into digitized guitar noise, it’s a more aurally apt illustration of urban paranoia than any ’80s funk loop. Ditto for “Tricky Kid” (one of the standout tracks from the Tricky Presents: Grassroots EP) or the damaged sprawl of “My Evil is Strong.”

Originally Published