Friday, July 13, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 273 - Tricky - Pre-Millennium Tension

Album – Pre-Millennium Tension
Artist - Tricky
Key Players – Tricky – vocals, keyboards. Martina Topley-Bird – vocals. Pat McManus - guitar
Produced By - Tricky

Release Date – November 11, 1996

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I can't even think why I bought this record to begin with so its been a very long time.

Overview – Born Adrian Nichols Matthews Thaws “Tricky” grew up in England. His father left the family before he was born and his mother committed suicide by the time he was four years old. Tricky lived with his grandmother and started to work on music as a teen. He'd go on to record with the band “Massive Attack” but would leave to become a solo artist. His debut album “Maxinqwaye” was a hit and brought him fame, which made him uncomfortable. This album here is his third studio album, an intended “heavier punk rock record”. It would be be voted on to “Q” magazines 50 Heaviest Albums of all time list.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The album opens with the track “Vent”. A long slow drum roll and wavering keyboards hover below the slow chant of the vocals. Tricky has/had a long time vocal collaborator in Martina Topley-Bird repeats “can't hardly breath” as the song really tries to come around. The main vocals are difficult to understand and McManus seems to struggle with where to go on the guitar. It is a challenging opening track. Known for his “trip hop” it seems to come around on
“Christiansands” as it begins. A looping keyboard line as Tricky has a raspy spoken lyric line. Topley-Bird sings the same, but of course a bit lighter. She takes the second verse and the music is largely scaled back, not pushing much. The keyboard line seems to loop and the drum track is there to just keep time it seems. The vocals seems gargled, dark and husky. It adds a unique twist to the track.
“Tricky Kid” seems to have a bit more of a drive to it you'd think with a heavy record, but its still not overly uptempo. Tricky finds a dark place with references to “cocaine noses” and “twisted faces”. There are aggressive howls in the back, but the gargled vocals continue and the backing section is simple with not much of an interesting spin on it. The track appears to be autobiographical and warms the listener up some. The guitar is up more in the mix as “Bad Dream” begins. Topley-Bird is the first vocalist and the keyboard loop finds a heavy tension with the drum line slow to work out. Topley-Bird is the vocalist for the duration. The lyrics are spoken, vs. being “sung”. The grinding, slow burn of the track keeps it dark and mysterious. “Makes Me Wanna Die” is another Topley-Bird lead track. A quiet and pretty song, far more “bright” than other tracks on the record so far. The guitar also seems to be more of an important part of the song. Not in the solo sense, but just more a part of the feel of the song. Coming back to the rap/trip hop feel is “Ghetto Youth”. Tricky, who found heavy Rastifarian influences on this record, uses many slang words/phrases and sentences in the dialect. The deep baritone of his voice keeps the song interesting enough, even if you have no idea what is being sung. Clocking in at 5:37 it is the longest track on the album as well. Things, musically, get a bit more chaotic on “Sex Drive”. The harmonica seems to waiver between two long notes played over the looping keyboard and machine gun drum tempo. Topley-Bird takes the second verse and the track, to me, is the most interesting thus far on the record. It just sounds like the album cover, it that makes any sense at all. “Bad Things” has a muted, and semi out of tune guitar as the lone instrument at the start. The vocals are very hushed and the guitar continues to be the lone accompaniment. Its a tough track to get through. “Lyrics of Fury” jumps off the speakers with the quick hip/hop back beat. Topley-Bird is easily the influence for current pop songstress M.I.A. Just listen, and tell me Topley-Bird couldn't have done “Paper Planes” 10 years earlier. This is a fun and interesting track. Wish there were more like this on the record. We are back to schizophrenic tempos and lyrics as “My Evil is Strong”. Another track that seems to struggle to even get off the ground. The gargled lyrics and the off tempo drum rings mixed with the slow guitar part. I honestly had to skip ahead. The album concludes with the track “Piano”. As advertised there is a solo piano with some slow drum beat and the odd vocal delivery. I again, gave up halfway through.

Where are they now? - Tricky has had some issues with the press but has continued to write and perform. He most recent studio album was 2010's “Mixed Race”

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – Tricky was part of Lollaplooza 1997. July 8, 1997 at the Tweeter Center would have been the time. I don't really recall the set at all, other than it being during the day and very polarizing of the audience.

FDF Overall Take – I am not sure what “Q” magazine was thinking when they named this a heavy record. It is hardly a rock record, let alone heavy. Even for 16 years later, it was no heavier than anything then. That confuses me. This record is a tough listen. Honestly a real tough listen. This is the first cd in ages, perhaps ever, that I've actually skipped ahead on the tracks. It seems over indulgent at times and really, just not that interesting. Please feel free to comment to point out something I am missing, because this one lost me. Back to the shelf..if not the re-sale shop with this one.


Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Ghetto Youth

Sex Drive

Lyrics of Fury – Live

You can still find the record at

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.


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