Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. 60
    Tricky reengages with his pain that gave him his original power. [Sep 2008, p.128]
  2. This is pure Tricky; sometimes at his near-best, sometimes coasting, but always unique.
  3. It makes for some pleasingly approachable music but that's not what he'll be remembered for.
  4. It’s as accessible as his debut, that much is true – Tricky’s welcomed the pop infection that’s spread through his system since the bleak Angels With Dirty Faces – but it lacks a standout single voice.
  5. His proxies fare a bit better, though there's another problem: There's way too many of them, and none of them stick around long enough to establish themselves.
  6. 80
    Tricky is back with his best album in at least a decade.
  7. It not only re-establishes him as a pioneer, but as an engaging personae who isn't hiding behind his sonic palette anymore; his music is all the better for it.
  8. However, this album feels like it marks the beginning of a return of form, and it's great to hear his voice again on tunes that don't make you work to the point of sufferance to get any enjoyment out of.
  9. Butler might consider himself lucky he got out when he did, as Tricky’s ideas are scattered all over the place and Knowle West Boy is mostly a mess.
  10. Knowle West Boy shows that regardless of era, Tricky does his thing and does it well.
  11. Knowle West Boy marks a long-overdue return to form from one of the founding fathers of trip-hop.
  12. Knowle West Boy is a survey of Tricky’s sonic versatility--straightforward rock and oppressive, moody atmospherics all have a home here--and it is frequently gorgeous.
  13. There is a static-y scratchy cackle running through Knowles West Boy that gives ut the energy of a classic reggae record and a post modern work at the same time. But then at the same time, there is a just-recently-became-dated tone to Knowles West Boy that feels like Tricky is trying to scramble onto trendy bandwagons. [Fall 2008, p.84]
  14. 70
    The music, coproduced by M.I.A. confederate Switch, warps and wanders too, from rock-rap to dancehall to new wave to folk.
  15. It's variety that makes this Tricky's best since his 1995 debut, Maxinquaye.
  16. 60
    It's not a groundbreaking record, largely because Tricky himself broke most of the ground here 13 years ago. [Aug 2008, p.103]
  17. 60
    Worth the wait, Knowles West Boy provides a uniquely varied soundscape from an equally enigmatic musicmaker. [Jul/Aug 2008, p.87]
  18. This is no dour social critique. In fact, his seventh album finds him energised following a period as a soundtrack hack in Los Angeles. [Aug 2008, p.145]
  19. Knowle still offers a diverse evocation of his childhood in the proverty-riddled district of the title. [12 Sep 2008]
  20. There are many memorable tracks here, but you still can't help missing the scratchy textures and humid atmosphereics of "Maxinquaye" and "Pre-millennium Tension." [July 2008, p.60]
  21. Perhaps it’s not a full home run--it’s good, but more a retrenchment than a bold step forward. That’s OK, however.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. CianH.
    Sep 10, 2008
    Definitely his best since Maxinquaye and if anybody says otherwise they're lying. Overall it's a very enjoyable record that never stays static, there's a great variety of sound. I saw him play live about two months ago, best gig I've ever been to, so intimate. Comes highly recommended. Full Review »
  2. Feb 20, 2012
    Arguably Tricky's best release, post-2000, and its not difficult to see why. Tracks like 'Past Mistake' and 'Council Estate' embed an assortment of new and old Tricky, yet the material is just not quite at the level it should be. Nevertheless, this is an album where you can breathe a sigh of relief, Tricky isn't over yet... Full Review »