Comfort of Strangers

Orton returns with her fourth album, marking the 10th anniversary of her debut album Trailer Park. Comfort of Strangers is an initimate album, a kaleidescopic look at affairs of the heart draped over delicate melodies.

When Orton was beginning work on this album, she decided to keep it analog instead of digital, and to try for a spontaneous, almost live, feel. The album was recorded quickly with minimal overdubs, something new for the Norfolk, England-born singer/songwriter, with most of it performed in a trio configuration. Each song is mostly the first or second take. The goal was to not second-guess the first instincts of Orton and her fellow musicians.

Although Orton eschews the electronic beats that she has sometimes employed in favor of a more organic approach, she certainly retains some of the flavor of dancey percussion on some of the songs, like the title song and the terrific "Rectify."

The album rockets out of the gate with a series of short, sharp songs, each under three minutes, so after ten minutes you've already heard four keenly-observed vignettes without stopping to catch your breath.

All told, there's 14 songs--and each is its own simple delight. In aiming for an earthy sound on Comfort of Strangers, Beth Orton soars heavenward.

Mike Sauter, WYEP Music Director