Beth Orton. What a dreamy girl. See: Beth Orton in a dusty cowboy hat, guitar case covered in flower stickers slung across her back. Beth Orton in faded denim hotpants, hitchhiking the American highways. Mercilessly stealing indieboy hearts with her saucer blue eyes and wispy summer hair, last night's brown eyeliner and chipped blue nail varnish, cross-legged in dirty trainers, playing under the shadow of a tall swaying tree on an endless summer afternoon; mournful minor chords and wistful verses, soaring choruses and heart-melting middle eights. Beth Orton with her wonky smile. A half-remembered girl-next-door childhood crush, a folksy glamourama dream girl; a pretty, laughing, hippy belle you see pass through the frame for a second on the Woodstock movie. Wicker furniture, creaking. Peeling pastel paint on the holiday-home porch. Cuppasoup on the crooked camping table one chilly morning, steam rising lyrically then vanishing.
So. You pretty much know what you're going to get from a Beth Orton album. Those warm, fuzzy tones, fingers scratching on steel strings; that dreamy voice, worn and tired but tough as well. Tinkling piano and acoustic percussion, reassuring lyrics - forgive and forget, hold on a little longer, dream away, curl up beside me... you know the drill. If you're in the wrong mood, Orton's MOR female-David-Gray strummery might make you want to pull your ears off and throw them out of the window, and put on Atari Teenage Riot albums back to back just to cleanse your aural palate. But, if you're in the right mood, it could be perfect. It's sweet, comforting music with a nice warmth to it. Not too political, nothing too clever. Not as good as Trailer Park, but her best thing since.
Buy it for your mum, maybe, but stick it on your iPod first - you might need music like this sometime.
6John Brainlove's Score