Beth Orton

Sugaring Season

Laura Marling, Lucy Rose, Rachel Sermanni – much like in the ’70s, these days you can’t chuck a teabag without hitting a girl singing forlorn acoustic guitar-driven folk-pop into her cuppa. Orton’s fifth album slots seamlessly in among the relative newbies. Here the 41-year-old’s sparse songs shiver as if caught in an autumnal chill, punctuated by a few rootsy, organ and string-stoked tunes to lift the feeling of melancholy. The unforced, seen-it-all nonchalance is undoubtedly Orton’s strength, but occasionally this sort of musical maturity also makes the record sound tired. Accomplished but not arresting.

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