Tracey Thorn: You Are A Lover EP
Strange Feeling Records

The release of Tracey Thorn's You Are A Lover EP (in ten-inch vinyl and download formats) arrives a year to the day after the release of her Love And Its Opposite album. The EP features the title song in two versions, one the demo-like version included on the album and the other a makeover by Clock Opera, plus a beautiful reading of Sufjan Stevens' “Sister Winter.”

Clock Opera opens the EP with a glossy remix that finds the electronic popsters imbuing the song with kaleidoscopic colour and a driving pulse. Though the clinking pianos and motorik groove do add a clockwork-like character to the song, they don't take away from its emotional dimension when Thorn's vocal chimes so royally at its center. There's a shuffle feel to the mix that's tailor-made for summer cruising, and the song's splendour is sweetened when Clock Opera frontman Guy Connelly joins in on backing vocals.

In the original version of “You Are A Lover,” Thorn's vocal navigates the melodic changes with ease in a sparse arrangement that ably showcases her gorgeous voice. If the song, composed by Hungarian pop duo The Unbending Trees, sounds especially intimate, part of that can be explained by the fact that she laid it down within Ewan Pearson's demo studio in Berlin and did so by singing and playing electric guitar at the same time. Though in one sense the song plays like a demo version, it nevertheless captures the beauty of Thorn's singing in the most immediate sense, especially when the accompanying instrumental elements are so few in number.

The EP also includes Thorn's affecting rendering of Stevens' “Sister Winter,” a winsome ballad originally offered last December as a free Christmas download to fans. Midway through the recording of the song, Thorn's mother took ill, leaving the track unfinished until Pearson (with whom she'd recorded the song in Berlin during the summer) readied the material for a pre-Christmas release. The song's a keeper, for sure, with Thorn's voice gradually and gloriously swelling via multi-tracking within an arrangement that likewise builds dramatically into a stirring, full-band mix (including sleigh bells, naturally). The song achieves a lovely blend of melancholy and hopefulness, and no doubt Stevens would be proud.

May 2011