Nearly 20 years into the career and North Carolina-born classical experimentalist Tori Amos’ Night Of Hunters is her twelfth full-length album. She has been acknowledged, in the past, for her eerie electronica and minimal baroque pop, but this time it’s a tad different. This new image is wholly encircled around her classical inspirations; Debussy, Shubert, Schumann, Satie and Mussorgsky, and it’s from these classical masters where Amos fuses their recognisable instrumentals with Schubert-like, ‘Winterreise’ vocals, forming a gloomy and melancholic song cycle.
Night Of Hunters is an assortment of ethereal pieces, sometimes dominated by Satie-like furniture music and the rigidity of Amos’ Bösendorfer piano. This possibly reflects Bach’s hasty ‘Prelude in C Minor’. But is Amos producing something fresh and unique, or is she mimicking her inspirations? Either way, by switching from Epic to Universal to Deutsche Grammaphon, Amos has been able to diversify between piano rock, avant-garde electronica and, now, complete classicalism.
Though her fusion of the neat oboes, clarinets, bassoon and harmonious violas and violins is blissful and fluid, Amos’ vocals can come across as quite banal over the course of this record. This is evident in the dark ‘Battle Of Trees’ and sinister title track ‘Night Of Hunters’, as her vocals seem to drift into monotony. Nonetheless, Tori Amos has produced her most challenging album thus far, and not only does she create a record of gentle tranquillity; she also takes the listener through an endearing and passionate love story.