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The Language of Life

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Album Review

It may have been the logical extension of Everything But The Girl's ersatz cool jazz approach to finally go all the way by hiring veteran producer Tommy LiPuma and a studio full of fusion stars like Joe Sample (the Crusaders), Russell Ferrante (the Yellowjackets), Michael Brecker, and, finally, Stan Getz, whose early '60s albums of Brazilian jazz are a main touchstone for the group. With such firepower, The Language of Life, at least musically, may be the album that Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn have been trying to make from the beginning. But it falls down in its songwriting, largely because of the near-disappearance of Thorn and her edgy lyrics. The title song, with its criticism of uncommunicative men, and "Me and Bobby D," with its name-dropping debunking of some famous roues, are the kind of thing we expect from her, but elsewhere Watt takes over for a series of so-so love songs. And the bottom of the barrel is hit with a cover of Womack And Womack's "Take Me," intended as an erotic come-on and sounding more like a lullaby.

Biography

Formed: 1982 in Hull, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Originating at the turn of the 1980s as a leader of the lite-jazz movement, Everything but the Girl became an unlikely success story more than a decade later, emerging at the vanguard of the fusion between pop and electronica. Founded in 1982 by Hull University students Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt, the duo took their name from a sign placed in the window of a local furniture shop, which claimed "for your bedroom needs, we sell everything but the girl." At the time of their formation, both vocalist...
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