Reviewed by Andrew Downing
Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt, over the years, have made a wonderful couple, but that isn't all they've made. For twelve years, as Everything But The Girl, they have been making beautiful music together -- literally.
Amplified Heart, EBTG's 11th album, is not the exception that proves the rule. Thorn and Watt demonstrate well why they have a devoted following, not only in their native United Kingdom, but also in North America and even in Japan.
This CD showcases what may be EBTG's greatest asset - the beautiful, almost hypnotic, voice of Tracey Thorn. Her voice doesn't soar, scream or rasp -- what it does do is hold listeners in rapt attention with her wistful (some would say mournful) style.
Writing on the CD is a collaborative effort, many of the songs featuring lyrics by Thorn and music by Watt, and it's not just pretty sounds with no meaningful content. Amplified Heart is thoughtful and introspective.
Walking To You, for instance, is an acoustic duet about a broken-up couple who, while they are getting on with their lives, still have unresolved feelings for each other... "And I was desperate for love to be pure, though what that meant I was never sure. / You spent your time on me, I took it willingly, and I made you trust in literature./Am I walking to you?"
That particular song is also noteworthy as it shows off a lesser-known aspect of EBTG; namely Ben Watt's clear and powerful voice.
Also featured on Amplified heart is the international megahit Missing. (Some CDs also include Todd Terry's slick remix of Missing as a bonus track.)
In my own humble little opinion, this CD is an excellent buy... and have I ever steered you wrong?