With near 20 years since classic albums by Portishead, Tricky and Massive Attack defined the particularly English sound of trip hop, a revival is becoming a case of not if but when. Hollow For Sorrow, the accomplished sophomore set from Beck Goldsmith, takes the signifiers of smoky 90s melancholy- the languid pace, the hushed nocturnal delivery, the noir-ish espionage guitar licks, and the complex, multi layered orchestral instrumentation, and updates the mix with some sweet shards of folk melody.
Singing of shadows and silhouettes, hiding places, love, loss, comfort, and storms, at her best Goldsmith combines the theatrical story telling of Kate Bush with beautiful, rich arrangements- melodies that are stories in themselves. There is a lot of studio trickery on show- on the tracks The Watchers, Semaphore and the epic Few Steps Left Goldsmith is confident enough to allow her voice – strong enough to stand alone- to be processed, looped and whirled as violins sigh in reverse, time signatures switch and metronomic drums rat-tat away.
The willingness to experiment with form raises Hollow For Sorrows above the currently crowded field of female singer/ songwriters fancying a shot at Florence’s gothic crown. If the album falters, it is when it occasionally slips into overly saccharine Zero 7 coffee table territory, although considering the commercial success that band enjoyed, this may end up being more of a boon… This is just a minor quibble though, ultimately Hollow For Sorrows is a strong and assured work, comfortable and alluring with its dark pulsating heart.
Released March 2012