Random Access Memories
What do you do when the creative well has run dry? Bring in the orchestra!
Twenty years in the public eye, Tori Amos has shrunk from the frontline recently. Her fanbase remains devoted though and – in Holland's Metropole Orchestra – she's found a useful ally to revitalise some old favourites. They invited Amos to perform with them in 2010, and all this glossy furniture around her old songs compelled her to get the chemistry down on record.
So Gold Dust is a kind of retrospective, featuring choice cuts from the last two decades, from the song that made her – Silent All These Years – to lesser-known but nevertheless handpicked album tracks. It's certainly a proactive way to revisit the back catalogue, and served Peter Gabriel well last year, but is it really rewarding?
To be honest, it depends who you are. If you're already an Amos acolyte it'll be a treat to hear some favourites souped-up, but the addition of strings and brass hasn't done much to change the unassuming title track, the half-swiped carol Star Of Wonder or the already quietly grand Winter. But occasionally – on song to her mother Jackie's Strength, or the pretty Yes, Anastasia – a bit of bolster and fanfare perform miracles, and thunderous cellos make the vengeful Precious Things thrillingly tense.
The odd great moment then, but – to dig up the cliché – Gold Dust is one for the fans. They won't feel too short-changed.