Knowle West Boy is the album that sums up everything that Tricky has accomplished since his 1995 Maxinquaye debut. From the sardonic bar-room blues of Puppy Toy to the haunting quasi-classicism of Joseph; from the twisted Specials-worshipping punk of Council Estate to the bereft torchery of Past Mistake; from the Roxy Music’s The Bogus Man-at-the-dancehall art-stomp of Bacative to the poignant autobiographical tale of teen pregnancy that is School Gates, Knowle West Boy sees our misunderstood hero reaching into the post-punk, Two-Tone, reggae, hip hop and pure pop he grew up adoring, twisting it all into surreal Tricky shapes using his astonishingly accomplished band and a host of great undiscovered singers, and ending up with the most varied and accessible set of his career. When things get too dark he brings it back to the light with the ebullient pop-rock of C’mon Baby. When things get too relaxed he taunts the world for its cruelty and apathy with the Middle-Eastern hip hop textures of Coalition.
Underpinning it all is a theme of rediscovery… the American exile rediscovering his love of dear old Blighty; the veteran rediscovering the joy of making music; the experienced player rediscovering the struggle of being Knowle West’s very own Tricky Kid, the weird but defiant teen outsider who knew that with enough lust for life you could become a superstar. Knowle West Boy tells you everything you always wanted to know about Tricky, over music that still sounds like no-one else on earth