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Released: 21st February 2005.

Tori Amos - The BeekeperThe eighth studio album from the Queen of Faeries follows the direction initiated by previous release, "Scarlet's Walk". Adopting a softer mood, "The Beekeeper" takes to its title and is Tori Amos' most organic-sounding LP.

From the ominous opening, "Parasol", to the soft English-lilt of "Jamaica Inn" and the heavy "Sleeps With Butterflies", it's obvious Tori has mellowed with time. The music is eclectic and accessible, sometimes slightly over-produced, with the piano often pushed to the backseat.

Lyrically, many of the songs draw from religious symbology, such as "Marys Of The Sea", which is Tori's take on the story of Mary Magdalene, recently made popular in Dan Brown's novel "The Da Vinci Code". "Original Sinsuality" challenges the story of Adam and Eve and the tree of life. "Original Sin? No I don't think so," Tori purrs in a rare moment that sees just her and the piano alone together, "original sinsuality".

Spanning 19 tracks and well over and hour in length, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the album must drag at one point, but each song on "The Beekeeper" has its own identity and style.

This isn't "Boys For Pele" part 2, but would you expect it to be? "The Beekeeper" sees yet another change in Tori, and a much welcomed one, resulting in her best album to date.

* * * * * (Chris Evans)

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