Daybreaker

Beth Orton | Astralwerks

On her third album, Britain's Beth Orton continues to mix folk and electronica, with guests ranging from the Chemical Brothers to Emmylou Harris. However, the balance has shifted in favor of tradition, away from the gimmickry that cluttered her early efforts. At first she sounds delicate, even passive, but as the melodies unfold, her singing takes on a raw intensity. Slurring lyrics, emphasizing cracks in her voice, Orton even allows the hint of a snarl to creep into her sighs. Gems such as the sultry "God Song" and "Anywhere" give listeners the vicarious thrill of her desperation.

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