Album Review: A Piece Of What You Need by Teddy Thompson
Excellent, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
"File under: Pop" a polite message reads on the back cover of Teddy Thompson's fourth full-length album, A Piece of What You Need, and in this case no one can accuse the product of not living up to its billing. Thompson's first two albums were beautiful collections of moody folk-leaning indie pop that confirmed it was possible to sound dour and passionate at the same time, and his third set, Upfront & Down Low, was a glorious celebration of heartache as portrayed in 11 classic country weepers, but A Piece of What You Need finds him sounding unexpectedly upbeat for a change, and the shift in attitude works remarkably well. "What's this? What's this? Am I happy or something?" Thompson asks on the disc's second tune, and while much of the time he still seems to be having trouble in the eternal search for the woman of his dreams, with producer Marius de Vries behind the controls (who has previously worked with David Gray, Melanie C, Josh Groban, and Thompson's pal Rufus Wainwright), most of these meditations on the joys and pitfalls of romance have a good beat and you can even dance to them.
The son of folk-rock titans Richard and Linda, Teddy Thompson hated his 2000 debut, but has described his fourth album as "close to the record I've always wanted to make". Producer Marius de Vries (Rufus Wainwright/Björk) delivers a cinematic soundscape, but Thompson's golden voice is always centre-stage. With hints of Roy Orbison and early Bruce Springsteen, the chugging rhythms and instantly memorable melodies conceal real emotional drive.
Having apparently stolen the voice of some long forgotten Sun Records hillbilly cat, Richard and Linda's sprog is a man pleasingly out of time. Wry, understated and occasionally heroically sorry for itself, his fourth - and best – album mixes folk, pop, country and rock to superb effect..