Everything But the Girl

The Language of Life

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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.

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