Beth Orton, Central Reservation (3 Loop Music) ****

Beth Orton

Beth Orton

First published in CD reviews by

IGNORING the 5,000 copies of 1993’s Japan-only release, Superpinkymandy, 1999’s Central Reservation was Beth Orton’s second album, the one that marked her move from Trailer Park’s “folktronica” to the more mainstream singer-songwriter mode, where she has remained ever since with diminishing commercial returns.

You should, however, return to the Mercury-nominated Reservation, now that it comes with a bonus disc of eight live acoustic session tracks recorded at West 54th Street , B-sides, demos and rough mixes, plus new sleevenotes and an interview.

Beth talks of Central Reservation as “the actualising of all my most positive hopes and wishes”, and the melodies were sublime on Stolen Car, her lyrics at a peak on Sweetest Decline and her duet with Terry Callier on Pass In Time so soulful, where later she had a tendency towards the doleful.

She won Best British Female at the BRITs of 2000 and the album’s inclusion in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die is doubly merited by this expanded edition.

 

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