In a latest version of Lenny Letter, Tori Amos recounts taking a visit to retrace her mom’s Appalachian ancestry. She didn’t write any songs on that journey, Amos says, however her new Native Invader looks like a homecoming nonetheless. That includes a tune devoted to Amos’ mom and vocals from her personal daughter, Native Invader sees the singer exploring the pagan “mom” archetype, each personally and globally. With themes of therapeutic and strife, the album is a deeply felt name for unity that weaves totally different threads of Amos’ songwriting type right into a harmonious complete.
Musically, Native Invader finds a stability between Amos’ ongoing flirtations with electronica and guitar rock and the extra natural, orchestral elements of her sound, with lush outcomes. “Wings” is a delicate, trip-hop-influenced lullaby for an anxious period; “Bang” gives a cosmic rebuttal to prejudice (“Bang the world, now traumatized / By a cluster of people who facet / With warlords of hate / We should out-create”) with handclaps and electrical guitar; and “Cloud Riders” smolders with a desert swagger paying homage to certainly one of Amos’ most well-known tracks, 1993’s “Cornflake Lady.” All that is anchored by Amos’ classically educated mezzo-soprano voice and piano, at turns ethereal (“Climb”; the spare, intimate “Breakaway”) and resonant (“Wildwood”; album opener “Reindeer King”).
Native Invader isn’t as confrontational as Amos’ early work, and consequently, a few times the album takes a short detour into coffeeshop cliché. However even the sillier lyrical content material is elevated by Amos’ expertise for association and distinctive snippets of melody, just like the sudden earworm within the refrain of “Chocolate Tune.” In a world desperately in want of consolation, Native Invader is an invite to introspection and sensuous delight, impressed by the dappled daylight and funky springs of the forest. When you’ve been out of the Tori fold, now is an ideal time to return house.