First Listen

First Listen: Tricky, 'Adrian Thaws'

Tricky's new album, Adrian Thaws, comes out Sept. 9. i i

Tricky's new album, Adrian Thaws, comes out Sept. 9. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist
Tricky's new album, Adrian Thaws, comes out Sept. 9.

Tricky's new album, Adrian Thaws, comes out Sept. 9.

Courtesy of the artist

Ever since he made his name as a spectral carnival barker in the trip-hop troupe Massive Attack, Tricky has been a master of creeping, crawling mood music that exudes quiet defiance and makes followers consult their dictionaries every so often to reconvene with the precise definition of "crepuscular." For his 11th album, Tricky stays more or less in line — though with a bit of a new persona in tow.

Adrian Thaws takes its title from Tricky's given name, marking a rare occasion for him to shed even the slightest bit of the mystery he's been nurturing since the early 1990s. The songs, though, are still evasive in intriguing ways. "Sun Down" slinks over a slick, gritty mid-tempo beat with a mix of foreboding bass tones, dirty angelic coos and slashes of electric guitar. Tricky himself sounds pleasingly cadaverous, while soulful singing by Tirzah establishes a desiccated R&B air. "Lonnie Listen" features the beguiling art-rapper Mykki Blanco and regular Tricky companion Francesca Belmonte as they give voice to down-and-out despair ("Exercise every day and I'm still not fit / My kids are hungry and I ain't got s—- / What I'm gonna do, what I'm gonna do, what I'm gonna do?").

Adrian Thaws varies greatly in speed and tone. "Keep Me in Your Shake" skulks, with a slur of acoustic guitar that gives the song an appealingly strange country-blues twang. "Nicotine Love" accelerates greatly by comparison, with some of the swing of house music and club-ready bass bumps. "Gangster Chronicles" seethes with fiery rapping by London grime MC Bella Gotti, while "My Palestinian Girl" pays eerie tribute to a paramour who caught Tricky's leering eye ("I take a trip to Gaza, it's love I'm really after," he rasps).

Consistent throughout Adrian Thaws is a brooding, searching spirit and a cinematic sense of atmosphere. Tricky's cinema, to be sure, is noir and then some, but he also knows how to pan back every now and then for a widescreen fantasia.

First Listen: Tricky, 'Adrian Thaws'

Cover for Adrian Thaws

Sun Down (feat. Tirzah)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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Sun Down (feat. Tirzah)
Album
Adrian Thaws
Artist
Tricky
Label
Adrian Thaws
Released
2014

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Lonnie Listen (feat. Mykki Blanco & Francesca Belmonte)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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Lonnie Listen (feat. Mykki Blanco & Francesca Belmonte)
Album
Adrian Thaws
Artist
Tricky
Label
Adrian Thaws
Released
2014

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Something In The Way (feat. Francesca Belmonte)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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Something In The Way (feat. Francesca Belmonte)
Album
Adrian Thaws
Artist
Tricky
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Adrian Thaws
Released
2014

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Keep Me In Your Shake (feat. Nneka)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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Keep Me In Your Shake (feat. Nneka)
Album
Adrian Thaws
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Tricky
Label
Adrian Thaws
Released
2014

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The Unloved (Skit)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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The Unloved (Skit)
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Adrian Thaws
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Tricky
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Adrian Thaws
Released
2014

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Nicotine Love (feat. Francesca Belmonte)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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Nicotine Love (feat. Francesca Belmonte)
Album
Adrian Thaws
Artist
Tricky
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Adrian Thaws
Released
2014

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Gangster Chronicles (feat. Bella Gotti)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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Gangster Chronicles (feat. Bella Gotti)
Album
Adrian Thaws
Artist
Tricky
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Adrian Thaws
Released
2014

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I Had A Dream (feat. Francesca Belmonte)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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I Had A Dream (feat. Francesca Belmonte)
Album
Adrian Thaws
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Tricky
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Adrian Thaws
Released
2014

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My Palestine Girl (feat. Blue Daisy)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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My Palestine Girl (feat. Blue Daisy)
Album
Adrian Thaws
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Tricky
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Adrian Thaws
Released
2014

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Why Don't You (feat. Bella Gotti)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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Why Don't You (feat. Bella Gotti)
Album
Adrian Thaws
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Tricky
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Adrian Thaws
Released
2014

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Silly Games (feat. Tirzah)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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Silly Games (feat. Tirzah)
Album
Adrian Thaws
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Tricky
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Adrian Thaws
Released
2014

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Right Here (feat. Oh Land)

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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Right Here (feat. Oh Land)
Album
Adrian Thaws
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Tricky
Label
Adrian Thaws
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2014

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When You Go

  • Artist: Tricky
  • Album: Adrian Thaws

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When You Go
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Tricky
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Adrian Thaws
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2014

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First Listen