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Thursday, Sep. 22, 2011

LISTENING POST

Tori Amos "Night of Hunters" (Deutsche Grammophon)


By KAREN HAWKINS
AP

Tori Amos has established herself as an unmistakable musical presence with a distinctive voice, her powerful piano playing and a penchant for lyrics that can be a bit, well, confounding. "Night of Hunters" is packed with those piercing Amos vocals, her dominating piano and a fair share of head-scratching lyrics, wrapped this time around a classically inspired theme of reinvention.

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"Hunters" is Amos' first release on the Berlin-based classical record label Deutsche Grammophon, and there are clear classical, even operatic influences, including sweeping strings and reedy woodwinds to back Amos' gripping piano (on "Nautical Twilight," "Your Ghost," "Seven Sisters"). It's a beautifully composed album that highlights Amos' classical training and her fierce intensity as a musician and songwriter. But long gone are the pointedly poignant, and accessible, lyrics of her earlier work.

Amos has said the album uses the structure of a classical song cycle to tell the story of one life-changing night in the life of a woman who is at the end of a relationship. The album allows the listener to "follow her on a journey to explore complex musical and emotional subject matter," Amos says. It is heady stuff, and the complicated narrative probably will elude those uninitiated in Amos-speak. For instance, the song "Cactus Practice," while lovely, includes lines such as, "Will you induct me into a drink of the Cactus Practice?"


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