The set begins with a lounge-blues soundscape that evokes the late-night feel of Barry Adamson at his sleaziest. It explodes about a minute in, strutting its scrappy big band against Fripp-ian guitars, a cracking distorted snare, and cymbal thuggery. The cool thing is in its humor. Tricky plays a lounge lizard boasting about himself to a young woman (Alex Mills) who hands it back to him on a funhouse mirror.
Originally, Tricky's new record was to be helmed by ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, the hot-handed producer behind Duffy's breakthrough and the Black Kids' recent debut. That partnership, however, ended swiftly and acrimoniously, with Butler demanding a co-production credit that reportedly delayed its release. (Tricky inevitably self-produced.) Butler might consider himself lucky he got out when he did, as Tricky's ideas are scattered all over the place and Knowle West Boy is mostly a mess.