The Austin Chronicle

Phases & Stages

Reviewed by Margaret Moser, April 24, 2009, Music

Beth Orton

Trailer Park (Legacy Edition) (Heavenly/Arista/Legacy)

Beth Orton's relatively short career and a lack of any real hit makes this unquestionably stellar collection feel light. Sony's 2-CD package includes the English folkie's critically adored 1996 debut, Trailer Park, and adds the standard second disc of covers, B-sides, and other rarities. Her arrival in the mid-1990s under the tutelage of boyfriend/producer William Orbit evoked sighs of pleasure during a period awash in the fresh first wave of post-1980s female voices. Orton's career came about by happenstance, and her songwriting reflects that, guileless and free of artifice, even encased in Orbit's ambient techno-caress (the pulsing "Touch Me With Your Love" and atmospheric "Tangent"). That's the definitive Orton given that her folkier side ("I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine," "Sugar Boy") is rock-solid yet scarcely touches the cool zip-zap of the 10-minute "Galaxy of Emptiness" or airily heart-tugging "She Cries Your Name." The second disc is for completists: duets with the soulful Terry Callier and dusky covers ("It's Not the Spotlight"). Though Trailer Park doesn't weigh heavily, Orton's magic remains substantial.


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