Beth Orton

Record review

SXSW Records

Beth Orton

Comfort of Strangers (EMI)

From the chilly confines of her debut, 1996's Trailer Park, emerges an older, wiser, earthier version of Beth Orton on Comfort of Strangers. A collaboration with guitarist Jim O'Rourke and Portland singer-songwriter M. Ward, Strangers was recorded in two weeks and, rather than feeling rushed, has a stripped-down, rustic, and folksy feel. It's the difference between the raw and cooked, from the "apple eating heathen" of the cheeky, bouncy opener, "Worms," to the heartbeatlike percussion reverberating subtly through "A Place Aside," in which Orton sings of the empty, always reserved place for her departed lover. Before, Orton seemed to be singing from an emotional remove, hiding behind a trip-hop conceit. Here, she finds (and delivers) Comfort in a more human touch. When her voice wavers on the quiet, fragile "Feral," you know you're getting the real thing, but it's not uncomfortably intimate. On the contrary, the London-based singer's fourth album is suffused with warm light. It's intimate, home, and it's never felt more comfortable. (Wednesday, March 15, 11pm @ Antone's)

***.5

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
The Eric Bee
The Eric Bee (Record Review)

Bryan Rolli, Dec. 2, 2016

Texas Platters
Canvas People
City Boy Slump (Record Review)

Bryan Rolli, Dec. 2, 2016

More by Melanie Haupt
<i>The Wangs vs. the World</i>
The Wangs vs. the World
by Jade Chang

Nov. 4, 2016

Finding Community With Bread Church
Finding Community With Bread Church
Local parish comes together around baking

July 22, 2016

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)