Everything but the Girl – Fuse
Everything but the Girl, consisting of Ben Watt and Tracy Thorn, were a mainstay in the 80s and 90s with their mix of jazz, trip-hop, electronica and indie. The group, perhaps best known for 1994’s Missing, took an extended hiatus following 1999’s Temperamental, to pursue solo projects and collaborate with other artists. The duo have now returned with their much-anticipated 11th studio album, Fuse, which has drummed up much attention as fans are eager to find out if new material was worth the 24-year wait. The answer is a resounding “yes”, with the duo adapting their existing style to incorporate developments in the music industry since their heyday.
Opener Nothing Left to Lose certainly has a modern dance and house feel to it, and shows Thorn’s vocals are in fine form. It’s a sign the pair have kept up with evolving sounds over the past 24 years. Run a Red Light couldn’t be further away: distinctively from the same source, but showing their versatility is a more stripped-back, piano-orientated track, that still combines electronic elements.
When You Mess Up is a more textured track, with the piano evident underneath, but with several electronic layers on top of it fighting for attention. Time and Time Again has an irresistible energy to it, almost a throwback to the 80s. No One Knows We’re Dancing is one of the album’s highlights, again structured around Thorn’s vocals. After a slow build-up, it expands into a full-on dance track. It’s a perfect pop song and shows the pair have lost none of their potency.
Lost has a trip-hop feel to it, suiting Thorn’s more mature vocals. Forever, meanwhile, is another dance number, full of energy and certainly not something you might expect from a group that has been around for 40 years. Interior Space is a darker track, also built around the piano, showing a moodier side to the duo, and is a welcome departure from some of the more electronic and dance elements.
Fuse is a clear statement of intent from Everything but the Girl, more than justifying their return. As with their earlier work, it is a fine fusion of dance, electronic, ambient and jazz influences but also stands apart as an impressive record in its own right. Whether or not this is a one-off or something more remains to be seen – but it further cements the pair’s legacy and shows that they remain relevant in the 2020s.
Image: Edward Bishop
Fuse is released on 21st April 2023. For further information or to order the album visit Everything but the Girl’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Nothing Left to Use here: