At 19 songs, Amos's eighth solo effort, The Beekeeper, is no less ambitious, but its stripped-back production and resonant lyrics make it one of the most subtle and affecting works in her catalog. Amos uses language as deftly as Sylvia Plath and crafts extended metaphors with perfect verbal economy. Beekeeper works best musically when her lilting piano compositions remain unadorned by slick studio flourishes -- save for the title track, a moving Portishead doppelgänger. Only several uneven forays into funky '70s soul needlessly muddle Amos's classically trained exorcisms of the psyche's demons.
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