Artist: Tori Amos
Title: Abnormally Attracted To Sin
I’m sure I’m not the only male to have a magical, imaginary love affair with women in the music world. No, I’m not talking about Christina Aguilera or The Pussycat Dolls. The ladies I’m referencing are those whose musical talent is unique, spellbinding, awe-inspiring. Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Bjork, Tori Amos; There’s something very special about what they do and the music they create.
Well this review is of the latter. Tori Amos presents us with Abnormally Attracted To Sin, her 10th studio album and the follow-up to 2007’s American Doll Posse. Like most albums from Tori, we have 18 songs and well over an hour of music to pore over.
There’s never much mystery to the approach likely to be taken – her career is distinct and long enough that most of us are familiar with her work – but it’s the consistently high standard and subliminal beauty attached to the songs.
The album does commence with a curveball though. Give sounds rather like Portishead/Massive Attack with the crackly drum loop and swirling synths. There is something rather creepy but seductive about the way Tori sings this one, a million miles away from the quirkiness of songs like Mr. Zebra and Father Lucifer.
Several other songs commence with or feature a drum loop and although a new direction is welcoming, I don’t feel it’s fully embraced. These songs show a different side there are a few songs amongst the rest of the album that are run-of-the-mill Tori songs.
As mentioned earlier, the album feature’s 18 songs. Previous effort American Doll Posse weighed in at 23 tracks but was much easier listening. It’s all a little too much to take in and AATS would definitely have benefitted from a ‘quality not quantity’ approach.
There are several standout tracks that will satisfy any die-hard fan who finds it a little disappointing – as opposed to the die-hard fan who likes anything their favourite artist releases. Flavor, Curtain Call and the title track in particular carry an atmosphere around that make them almost perfect for a soundtrack to a seance (that’s a compliment by the way).
Maybe California, Starling and Fast Horse find Tori in fine form, and despite living in Cornwall for the last umpteen years she’s certainly not lost her twang (Tennessaaay in Fast Horse). Ophelia sounds like a message to someone in need of guidance from beyond the grave, and a beautiful piece of music it is too.
At seven minutes Lady In Blue is the longest track. It takes you as far as it can in a when-will-it-get-going sense before actually upping the ante just after the four-minute mark. A song, like the album, that could’ve been trimmed down here and there.
The first single, Welcome To England, probably doesn’t do the album justice, although it is delightful to hear Tori romanticise about her adopted home country it’s not a song I feel is an accurate representation of AATS. Strong Black Vine is Tori putting her musical foot down and Not Dying Today is a rather joyous affair despite the subject matter.
If I was to bring the axe down on any part of AATS it’d be just before the halfway point. Fire To Your Plain, Police Me and That Guy aren’t bad songs and perhaps rejigged could find a place on the album, but as it stands they drag it down a little and it’s lucky for them that they have the strong title track following them to rally the troops, as it were.
So then, overall not her best work, but I can guarantee that when her tour hits these shores later in 2009 only the best songs from the album will get an airing, and that will certainly be worth waiting for.
Tori Amos tours the UK visiting the following venues:
6 Sep 2009 Manchester Apollo Manchester
7 Sep 2009 Birmingham Symphony Hall Birmingham
8 Sep 2009 Royal Concert Hall Glasgow
10 Sep 2009 Hammersmith Apollo London
For more information on Tori Amos check out the following link: