After having seemingly disbanded in the early 2000s, beloved U.K. group Everything But the Girl will make a comeback this spring with its first studio album since 1999’s Temperamental. The duo of Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt will release Fuse on April 21 through Buzzin’ Fly/Verve, with the first single “Nothing Left To Lose” debuting today (Jan. 10).
Work on the 10-track project began in the spring of 2021 at the couple’s home and with engineer Bruno Ellingham at the intimate Riverside Studios outside Bath, England. “Ironically, the finished sound of the new album was the last thing on our mind when we started,” says Thorn. “Of course, we were aware of the pressures of such a long-awaited comeback, so we tried to begin instead in a spirit of open-minded playfulness, uncertain of the direction, receptive to invention.”
Initial sessions birthed atmospheric tracks such as “When You Mess Up” and “Interior Space,” but as work continued, Thorn and Watt found themselves easing into more familiar uptempo Everything but the Girl territory, as heard both on “Nothing Left To Lose” and “Caution to the Wind.” Says Watt, “It was exciting. A natural dynamism developed. We spoke in short-hand, and little looks, and co-wrote instinctively. It became more than the sum of our two selves. It just became Everything but the Girl on its own.”
As for the album title, Thorn says it stemmed from the pair having spent “so much time apart professionally. There was both a friction and a natural spark in the studio when we began. However much we underplayed it at the start, it was like a fuse had been lit. And it ended in a kind of coalescence, an emotional fusion. It felt very real and alive.”
Beyond recording and mixing, Ellingham contributed percussion programming on three Fuse songs and a field recording made at Druidstone Beach on “Interior Space.” Ewan Pearson, who has previously collaborated with Thorn on her solo material, added drum and synth programming to “No One Knows We’re Dancing.”
There are no plans for Everything but the Girl to perform live, which the group has not done since 2000 and was famously difficult for the stage fright-prone Thorn. She did make some public appearances in recent years in support of her second book, Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia, which chronicles her upbringing in Hertfordshire about 30 miles north of London.
Everything but the Girl is best known for its 1994 single “Missing,” which rocketed to international visibility the following year after it was remixed by Todd Terry. The song eventually reached No. 1 on the U.K. Dance Chat and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Everything But the Girl’s Fuse tracklisting:
“Nothing Left To Lose”
“Run a Red Light”
“Caution to the Wind”
“When You Mess Up”
“Time and Time Again”
“No One Knows We’re Dancing”