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The Boston Globe

Music

Album Review | HOLIDAY

Tracey Thorn, ‘Tinsel and Lights’

The Everything But the Girl gal follows up her superb 2010 solo album, “Love and Its Opposite,” with this gently lovely seasonal release. Anyone familiar with the blue side of the generally festive holiday season will find a kindred spirit here, as Thorn applies her achingly gauzy voice to 10 covers — some offbeat, some traditional — and pens two new wintry gems. “Joy” expertly expresses the curious blend of hope and melancholy that comes with appraising one year and looking ahead to the next. Arrangements are both spare (like a stark, reverent take on Joni Mitchell’s “River” and the White Stripes’ “In the Cold, Cold Night”) and fleshed out with electronic and seasonal flourishes, as on the pulsating cover of “Hard Candy Christmas” from the musical “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Thorn’s EBTG partner Ben Watt contributes some guitar work and their three kids pitch in to make up the Watt Family Vocal Choir. Add in the dreamy duet with Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside on Low’s “Taking Down the Tree,” and Thorn’s got you covered for the holidays. (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Joy”

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