Album Review: Everything But the Girl (re-issues)

EBTG Walking Wounded

Everything But The Girl -‘Walking Wounded’/’Temperamental.’ (Edsel)

June 1995. It’s my first Glastonbury. Amongst the many acts I see that weekend are Everything But The Girl. A few months back singer Tracey Thorn has guested on Massive Attack’s Protection album, and and she and musical partner Ben Watt collaborate with Jeff Buckley on the stage that day on a cover of The Smiths’ ‘I Know It’s Over.’ This is the calm before the storm…

A few months later, ‘Missing’ a track from their then most-recent Amplified Heart, is remixed by Todd Terry and goes on to become their biggest hit worldwide. And a band who had impeccable indie credentials, and yet had been perceived as moving to the middle of the road are suddenly reborn as a successful dance act.

1996’s Walking Wounded was the duo’s most successful album, and saw them suddenly a lot more in vogue than they had been in over a decade. The title track saw them experimenting successfully with drum’n’bass, but electronica and house found a place here, too. ‘Wrong’ and ‘Single’ were also huge hits. And deservedly so, but it wasn’t that Everything But The Girl had drastically changed their songwriting, but the delivery was in tune with the zeitgeist of the time. This album was well-received then, and it has dated extremely well. (****1/2)

EBTG Temperamental

1999’s Temperamental followed in a similar vein, but it’s not as strong as an album. Both re-issue packages come with a disc of bonus tracks and remixes and what this tends to show up is that ‘Full Fathom Five’ the lead-off single and opening track was one of the weakest tracks here in its original form (I could listen to these remixes for hours). ‘Low Tide Of The Night’ the second track seems too like generic house, but after that the album finds its feet, including the lovely ‘Lullaby Of Clubland’ and closing with the Deep Dish collaboration ‘The Future Of The Future (Stay Gold).’

(***1/2)

Thus far, it’s been the last studio album from the couple. Both have pursued solo careers, even though they are married with children (understandably they wanted to raise their children out of the public eye). Watt and Thorn have both published two books apiece (well worth reading, if you haven’t already done so). Hopefully they will work on another EBTG album, but the re-issues show a) how to do a re-issue package and b) how to successfully reinvent yourself as a musical act while staying true to yourselves.

Walking Wounded and Temperamental are out now on Edsel

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