Everything But The Girl’s final album, 1999’s Temperamental followed the polished clubbing template of its superb predecessor, Walking Wounded. Less successful second time out, most of the drum & bass tracks – see the title song and J Majik-produced single Blame – clash against Tracey Thorn’s elegant voice, rather than complement it. Worse, the instrumental Compression’s sole riff palls after two minutes, let alone seven.

Still, Lullaby Of Clubland lives up to its title as Thorn and the skittish percussion merge into an intoxication that hasn’t aged in 21 years. The beautifully hazy No Difference hints at darkness in the constant nights out, topped by the stunning Hatfield 1980, a magnificent, richly detailed story of suburban discos perfect for Thorn’s evocative delivery.

Their restraint has aged better than the outright club tracks, making Temperamental ultimately a frustrating farewell to Thorn and Ben Watt’s professional relationship. As superb as its slick ballads are, the downtempo production makes you yearn for a hedonism to match. Fair play for trying to find it in drum & bass but, at this remove, it no longer suits. Deep Dish’s The Future Of The Future ends Temperamental and EBTG’s career on an absolute house banger. It’s a riotous finale the album misses elsewhere.
Rating: 6/10
John Earls

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