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Review of The Beekeeper from the Daily Mail newspaper in the U.K.
February 18, 2005

Updated Fri, Feb 18, 2005 - 12:47pm ET

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lilalet has sent me a 3 star review of The Beekeeper from the February 18, 2005 edition of the U.K. Daily Mail newspaper.

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Read the review below:

Songbird telling tales of the bees
Verdict: Tori widens her horizons - 3/5 stars
Review by Adrian Thrills

Tori Amos's reputation as a kooky eccentric with little grasp on the modern world belies the reality of an iron-willed pop perfectionist - an American trouper who has successfully navigated her way through a 14-year career on her own terms.

The English based singer and pianist is remarkably self-sufficient. She writes and produces her own material and this album, her eighth, was made on the Cornwall farm she shares with her husband, sound engineer Mark Hawley, and their baby daughter.

The Beekeeper, according to the singer, was 'inspired by the fact that the piano realises that she has an organ.'

For those not familiar with Tori-speak, that's Amos's way of saying that tunes, which might normally have been built solely around her trusty Bosendorfer piano have now been fleshed out by adding the richness and warmth of a Hammond organ.

The broadening of Tori's instrumental bedrock has had an impact on her song writing too.

With her piano and organ further garnished by ethnic drums and, on some numbers, a gospel choir, The Beekeeper is the most relaxed, luxuriant record of her career.

Despite being far too long - it lasts 80 minutes- it is also her best since 1998's From The Choirgirl Hotel.

Whereas the 41-year old singers two previous albums, Strange Little Girls and Scarlet's Walk, were burdened by rigid concepts - the first containing songs written by men and the second an American travelogue - The Beekeeper benefits from a less formal brief.

Many of the 19 songs here are based loosely around love and spirituality, but the record as a whole is not tied exclusively to these themes.

Many of the early tracks reiterate the things that made Tori so compelling in the first place - Parasol contains eye-popping keyboard flourishes and theatrical Kate Bush-style whoops; General Joy positions her closer to the mellow jazz-rock of Joni Mitchell. On Cars and Guitars, Amos - raised as a church minister's daughter in North Carolina - lapses into southern country gal mode.

Ireland is a leisurely reggae workout that focuses on the novel topic of big family cars. It finds Tori 'driving in my Saab, on the way to Ireland'.

However, for all its initial brilliance, The Beekeeper features several tracks marred by the familiar flaws of billowing instrumental arrangements and convoluted lyrics: Witness and Mary of the Sea meander horribly while the title track is an indulgent exercise in Seventies-style prog-rock.

But, while some judicious editing would have sharpened the sting of an album that is too hit-and-miss, The Beekeeper is still a timely reminder that there is nobody quite like Amos.

Posted by: Mikewhy

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