Before getting this album I was only really familiar with Tricky's 'Maxinquaye' album. I invested in this 1999 release after being instantly impressed with the first single release 'For Real'. That song stands out with the lovely piano opening, beats and sleek guitar. 'Condradictive' is my next personal favourite. It's also rhymical and has a nice guitar riff. The vocals of Tricky and guest DJ Muggs merge into eachother to create a chilling, spooky effect. 'Hot Like A Sauna' is a hip hop style song with an urgent feel and great vocals. (from Tricky, Mad Dog and Kioka) The metal mix version of this song appears later in the album as track 9, and definetely has more 'oomph' with the electric guitar. The other songs vary from hip hop/trip hop beats with more haunting guitar and sparse atmosphere. They are good songs but if I'm honest they didn't hold my attention for very long. It gets a bit stale sounding to me, probably because my ears are trained to the excellent ferocious electro sounds Tricky has used before. I can't really think of a lot to say about this as it kind of left me a bit speechless for all the wrong reasons after a few listens. It gets boring. (apart from the 2 standout tracks) It's not a complete disaster though as it is veering strongly towards the genius that was Tricky's early work. If you are already a fan you'll find this very listenable indeed, but I'd imagine new Tricky fans would probably find 'Maxinquaye' more outstanding. It's also a pity this album is so short, clocking in at 35 mins for 10 tracks.
The first thing that strikes you about this album is the lack of content...it is just 35 minutes long and has 9 different tracks on it (and one mix of one of the others). But, moving on from that.... Once you hit play For Real plays and you feel that the kind of Maxinquaye music is back in full swing, and the track is fabulous. But, after that the rest of the tracks show the change Tricky has made to produce something a bit different. Bom Bom Diggy is a trip hop style song, with a rap lyric overlaid provided by Mad Dog, and actually works really well. Track 3 is Contradictive, and is a mellow track in a more traditional Tricky style, and is ace. I Like The Girls is the song to beware of, as it is a song that is THE reason why the album has an explicit lyrics sticker!!! If you're a big fan of Tricky then you'll like this, if you're not into it really, then steer clear as this won't make you like it anymore....
Though there are only nine tracks proper on this album, plus a not-very remixed version of one of the songs, 'Hot Like a Sauna', this is a far better platter than the barren 'Angels With Dirty Faces'. Most of the tracks seem cut from similar cloth, a mid-paced and fairly musical hip-hop weave with one eye on the tune and the other on background clunkings ('Angels...' kept the clunking in the foreground and forgot about the tune). Tricky is also assisted here by the British MC Mad Dog - you kind of wish he'd looked further afield, because his contributions are the most tedious elements in any of these tracks. There are two tracks that are of such better quality that they suffer by association with the rest of the album, just because they're so much more interesting. 'For Real' and 'Contradictive' (which sounds like it has Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy chipping in with backing vocals) are both prime Tricky: melodious, slinky, twisted, effortlessly idiosyncratic. The EP, 'Tricky Presents... Grass Roots', had long been his best work since 'Maxinquaye', and it was a stripped-down, straight-ahead, no-frills hip-hop offering. No mumbling. Proper breaks. 'Juxtapose' (co-produced by DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill) is a move back in that direction, and it's something to be grateful for. Of course, Tricky has been dropped by his record company since...
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 For Real - Tricky
2 Bom Bom Diggy - Tricky & DJ Muggs
3 Contradictive - Tricky & DJ Muggs
4 She Said - Tricky
5 I Like The Girls - Tricky
6 Hot Like A Sauna - Tricky & DJ Muggs
7 Call Me - Tricky & DJ Muggs
8 Wash My Soul - Tricky & DJ Muggs
9 Hot Like A Sauna (2) - Tricky & DJ Muggs
10 Scrappy Love - Tricky