Reviews

Everything But the Girl “Fuse” Album Review

Fuse

Everything But the Girl

  • Genre: Pop
  • Date: 21 Apr, 2023
  • Content: Not-explicit
  • Track(s): 10
  • ℗ 2023 Buzzin’ Fly Records, under exclusive license to Virgin Music Group

Everything But The Girl &Quot;Fuse&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, December 6, 2023

The British duo Everything But The Girl’s eleventh studio album, Fuse, was released on 21 Apr 2023 by Buzzin’ Fly and Virgin Records. Following Temperamental (1999), the married London couple of Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt stopped making music together in 2000. They took this time to raise their family while working individually and consideration about Watt’s health. It is their first studio album in nearly 24 years. Watt established the dance label Buzzin’ Fly and recorded solo music; Thorn produced albums and authored several outstanding books on her musical career and sources of inspiration. However, their fundamental cooperation was over while they continued to offer each other practical, creative help.

Fuse is their first joint effort since the underappreciated masterpiece Temperamental from 1999, which completed the fantastic 1990s trilogy they started with Amplified Heart and Walking Wounded. Thorn’s nostalgic voice drifted through the glitchy sounds as Everything, But The Girl delivered their signature brand of ghostly electro-pop that hit home. Yet, strangely, it came back during another disconnecting period. Concerned that they would someday realize they had left it too late, Thorn had suggested a relaunch of EBTG. Once Watt was persuaded, they approached the project with such trepidation that they hurriedly dubbed it EBTG and gave Tracey and Ben’s TREN—Tracey and Ben—credit for the song files. After making a similarly low-key announcement about the final record, they returned to hundreds of retweets.

They “wanted to come back with something modern-sounding,” according to Ben Watt. “All we wanted to do was create a piece that would sound fantastic in 2023. The driver was that.” Additionally, he clarified that Fuse is not “a pandemic album or a lockdown album – it just struck us that the time was right after 23 years of waiting”, reiterating Thorn’s claim that the objective was to be “a bit playful and experimental to see what happens. There wasn’t a master plan.”

Tracey Thorn noted they were “aware of the pressures of such a long-awaited comeback, so we tried to begin instead in a spirit of open-minded playfulness.” The duo started working on the album in March 2021, recording it secretly at their home and a studio outside of Bath, England, with the engineer Bruno Ellingham. “Nothing Left to Lose” was the album’s lead single on 10 Jan 2023. “Caution to the Wind,” “Run a Red Light,” and “No One Knows We’re Dancing” were released in February, March, and April of 2023, respectively.

Album Art

Everything But The Girl &Quot;Fuse&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, December 6, 2023

The simple yet eye-catching album art has the group’s name written in a thoughtful design that spells the album’s title, “FUSE,” and has the band’s initials “EBTG” in the reflecting background.

Tracks And Features

In a release, the duo described the album as a “modern take on the lustrous electronic soul” they created before going on sabbatical in 2000. The album consists of a mixture of electronic and acoustic pieces. The songs “When You Mess Up” and “Interior Space” were originally “improvised piano ballads” that Watt recorded on his iPhone.

The serrated “Nothing Left to Lose,” the album’s opening track, is reminiscent of “Katy on a Mission” for a corporate London that has lost all hope. “Caution to the Wind” is a nervous but devoted melancholy banger with a chorus that seems to have existed forever. “Forever” is a gamelan-dappled Balearic sunset that must be experienced while breaking down passionately.

Fuse continues where Temperamental left off as if they were pressing play on a tape they had been putting on hold for 24 years. But they keep it new by warping, filtering, and changing Thorn’s voice into a more profound, melancholy instrument utilizing the most recent digital effects. That fits with the song’s mature tone. On a Sunday afternoon, the protagonist of “No One Knows We’re Dancing” is cooped up inside, daydreaming about all the fun the partygoers are having outside. A bewildered synth ballad called “Interior Space” features Thorn wailing, “My head is an alien place,” over static.

The melodic and emotional center of the album is “Run a Red Light”—a charming vision of late-night clubbing. Thorn sings about a world where you may “forget the losers, forget the morning, put a tune on, put your feet up” over moving jazzy piano chords. Aspiring rockstar DJ narrator says the night starts with “a little bump from a car key.” But on a deeper level, it might be the tale of a couple returning to the city after spending too many nights at home. It contains both a shiver of dread and a thrill of anticipation; it perfectly captures the spirit of EBTG.

“Karaoke,” the album’s final track, is a reflection by well-known non-performer Thorn on what it means to sing and to attempt a connection. A chorus of angels asks Thorn whether she sings to “comfort the brokenhearted” or “get the party started,” She responds fulsomely. The slow-tempo song “Karaoke” is a confession of going out alone to sing in the dark with strangers. Thorn sings, “You take a breath and here goes / You hit the highs and own the lows.” They may have seen how easily we can interfere with life’s innocent moments’ thanks to EBTG’s perspective. They’re rare, just like Fuse.

Tracklist / Songs

NO

TITLE

1Nothing Left To Lose
2Run A Red Light
3Caution To The Wind
4When You Mess Up
5Time And Time Again
6No One Knows We’re Dancing
7Lost
8Forever
9Interior Space
10Karaoke

Album Summary

One of the year’s most unexpected—and welcome—comebacks has been the reappearance of Everything But The Girl. The electronic-pop duo makes a triumphant comeback after 24 years with a beautiful, poignant album that tells a nuanced tale about regaining innocence. As they have assimilated the revolutions in dance and electronic music since the release of their previous album in 1999 and transformed them into sad, minutely detailed stories, Everything But The Girl has not significantly changed stylistically from where they left off, maintaining their connection to contemporary club culture and creating an album that manages to be both different from anything they have recorded before and ideally in keeping with their past: a comeback worth waiting for.

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