With each successive album, trip-hop outlaw Tricky becomes more and more like a dear friend turned manic: You listen with an equal measure of love and discomfort. Tricky's latest, "Angels with Dirty Faces," is yet another work of genius, knitting together musical styles of torch songs, hardcore funk, gospel and dub in a way not so much seamless as it is profound -- all through the filter of Tricky's prickly personality.
Tricky recently complained that critics mistook his "honesty" for "darkness." He proves this with chilling, compelling lyrics such as: I watch where I venture, see/'Cause I don't like this century, on "Record Companies." When he snarls, Record companies love when them kill themselves/It boost up the record sales, or spews similarly acidic remarks on "6 minutes" or "Analyze Me," his paranoid vitriol becomes nerveracking, precisely because it is honest.
But honesty is subjective, and Tricky's truth is dark -- an element in his arsenal which makes the moments of tender joy on "Angels With Dirty Faces" all the more poignant and unforgettable.