Former Everything But The Girl frontwoman Tracey Thorn’s new album, Love And Its Opposite, comes wrapped in rather ominous cover artwork — a faded happy family snap violently defaced with technicolour crayon scribble.
The album opens with the mournful ballad Oh, the Divorces!, in which Thorn combs through a relationship breakdown in forensic detail.
Based on all this vented domestic angst, listeners could be forgiven for assuming all is not right at Chez Thorn.
“Well, my songs are always a mix of my own experiences and other people’s,” Thorn told Sydney Star Observer from her London home.
“Oh, The Divorces! is about realising how much more complicated it is, splitting up when you’re older. When you were younger you took for granted that you could just break up and move on to someone else.
“And now, I look at some of the relationships around me that have broken up in the last couple of years, and it’s unbelievably painful and difficult.”
In fact, Thorn last year married her partner of some 29 years (and the other half of Everything But The Girl), Ben Watt.
The pair, who have three children, continue to mix business with pleasure — after Thorn’s last album, 2007’s shining Out Of The Woods, got lost in the mix at a major label, the singer moved over to Watt’s own Strange Feeling imprint for her new LP.
She said it was something of a relief dealing with her husband rather than a boardroom full of record company executives.
“Although I have to say, he’s being a lot harder on me than I thought,” she laughed.
“He keeps telling me I have to do more interviews, I’ve got to fly around Europe, I’ve got to do this and that … and of course it’s harder for me to say no. I thought I’d get away without doing anything.”
“But the great thing is not having to keep explaining yourself — why you will do one thing and won’t do another. Ben just understands.”
It seems that, aside from the occasional music release, Thorn has all but retired from the machinations of the music industry.
Asked if she plans to tour the new album, her answer is definite.
“No, I’m not. It’s not even a question of doing a couple of small dates in London — I’m really not going to be doing anything at all. It’s a simple, blanket answer. I can blame it on having kids, being busy, but to be honest, I just don’t want to.
“Touring means that for long periods of time you just have to completely disconnect from home life, and I don’t want to do that any more.”
info: Love And Its Opposite (Inertia) out now.