Today’s POP RESCUE is the 2000 second album ‘Trickle‘ by electronic/trip-hop group, Olive. But will this be one oil love, or is it extra virgin on the ridiculous? Read on…
Chilled out guitars drift in with Ruth-Ann’s vocals as we head into first track Love Affair. The track wafts, building up the layers of bubbling synths, pads, and percussion samples. It’s a gentle start – almost a trickle itself. The track lifts a little for the chorus, but it rarely raises its pulse.
Titular track Trickle follows this, again starting with those 00’s signature bubbling synths as Ruth-Ann sings ‘trickle down my sadness’. It’s a downbeat track, and even the synth pads head downward. The chorus does give Ruth-Ann’s vocals a nice space to show her range and harmonies in the layered vocals. This peaks about 2/3rds of the way through the track as a roaring electric guitar arrives.
The album’s sole single, and 10cc cover I’m Not In Love is up next, and whilst Ruth-Ann’s vocals are really soulful here, it is very reminiscent to their hit single You’re Not Alone, but like a slower-paced sister track. Although similar, it failed to chart in the UK singles chart despite its inclusion in the Madonna and Rupert Everett film The Next Best Thing. The song did have success on the US’ Billboard charts.
This is followed by Smile, which from the out-set sounds like it is going to give Ruth-Ann the space and power that her voice deserves. The swelling pads and tiptoeing beats step back here, and the result is a really nice, warm, delicate song.
All You Ever Needed is up next, and again vocals feel like they take centre stage – they have volume, power, and harmonies, and the song inoffensively rides on this. It’s nice, but forgettable.
Next up is Indulge Me, and this is quite a simplistic track. Again, the vocals really shine here, and the guitar riffs, brass notes, and little bursts of synth strings tease of where this track could run off to.. but sadly it doesn’t. Instead, it reaches for the fader.
Brooding synths usher us into Speak To Me. This track feels like it is a much more fuller formed track with a stronger melody and bass line. This should probably have been a single, as aside from I’m Not In Love, this is the strongest track so far.
Soaring strings fill next song Liberty and this is wonderful to hear. This track really stands out by the sheer scale it gives, and the result is a song that gives interest, as Ruth-Ann’s vocals sound powerful yet effortless.
This fuller sound continues on into Push, which again feels like a more complete track. The bass and saxophone(?) riffs really help this, set alongside those strings again and bubbling synths. Again, this bigger sound gives a perfect backing to Ruth-Ann’s vocals.
Trust You follows this, and sees a partial return to the more muted sound, but the underlying beats and simple synth notes sit just beneath the vocals, allowing them to shine again, although the lyrics feel like they’re holding them back. The interjections from a brass section sound great in the background though. It’s nice but feels like an interlude.
Some light acoustic strumming and beats start Creature Of Comfort as Ruth-Ann fades in. Again, this song sounds like a fuller formed song, at times it makes me think that Ace Of Base could easily have taken this song on and resulted in exactly the same sound.
Beyond The Fray follows this, and continues the stronger tracks. Again, this could have found them success as a single as it is pretty catchy, but sadly the album only had one single. This track weighs in at 11mins and 28s, and that’s because of the ‘hidden track’.
The albums closing hidden track Take My Hand is up next, which fades in with some simple notes and beautiful vocals from Ruth-Ann. This is a nice little simple song of vocals, acoustic guitar and simple synth notes. A cosy ending.
Over all, this album really is a mixed bag, and I think that reflects the changes that the group were seeing when they were signed for this album.
There’s a lot of gently wafting songs that don’t tread very far off the path, or even walk forward on that path much either, and then there are songs that are a delight and feel fuller. Tracks like Push, Liberty, Beyond The Fray, and Smile fulfil this perfectly, and Ruth-Ann really shines with these bigger sounds to offset her vocals.
The rest of the album though is otherwise mostly a lot of nothing very memorable, yet wholly inoffensive. Like a Dido album, it’s unintrusive if you put it on in the background.
Before putting the CD on, it’s clear that the budget seems somewhat stripped back here. The booklet is just one piece of folded artwork, with no ‘thank you’s, or production credits. When I rescued this album from the charity store, I did wonder whether it was a pirate copy, but it seems not.
- POP RESCUE 2020 rating: 3 / 5
- 2000 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: Did not chart.
- POP RESCUE 2019 cost: 60p from a Barnardos store.