our score: 4.0 out of 5.0
For many people
the closest they've ever come to being a Beth Orton fan is through
her collaborations with The Chemical Brothers on Exit Planet
Dust, Dig Your Own Hole and Come With Us - contributing
vocals for a track on each. This is a rather unfortunate truth,
especially given the fact that Orton is not only already one of
the greatest singer/songwriters of all time, but she
is continually improving her game. Her latest, Daybreaker,
is ample proof.
One of the
most notable changes with Daybreaker for previous fans
of Orton is the expansion of her already-full sound. Songs tend
to have a much larger, lusher orchestration than before - at times
incorporating strong horn sections; see "Anywhere."
However, by bringing her sound to a more prevalant level we also
find Orton herself sinking further into the background. She's
always been the elusive one, but throughout Daybreaker
we find her less and less - something which isn't necessarily
a bad thing. Rather, by distancing herself from her music (both
lyrically and sonically) Daybreaker results in a sort
of absenteeist loneliness. It's unbelievably beautiful, yet still
achingly pure and empty.
With this slight
restructuring of sound Orton also finds herself working with a
multitude of guest artists including current alt.country superstar
Ryan Adams (who even goes so far as to pen "This One's Gonna
Bruise"). "God Song," in addition to guest vocals
by Adams also includes vocals by country legend Emmylou Harris.
Elsewhere you'll find production by Ben Watts and the Chemical
In most instances
where a musician like Orton spends so much time and effort in
collaboration we'll often see an overall lack of cohesion and
direction. For proof just listen to Sheryl Crow's C'mon C'mon
again. Thankfully with Daybreaker Orton has worked with
her peers and mentors to build upon what she'd already exelled
at: producing what is simply some of the most beautiful and touching
"folk" music ever recorded.
I now have an album to replace Central Reservation to
lose myself in during late nights writing and relaxing.
2. Concrete Sky
3. Mount Washington
7. God Song
8. This One's Gonna Bruise
9. Ted's Waltz
10. Thinking About Tomorrow