That was not to be. Dillon's latest album, The Unknown, retreats further into box-bedroom loneliness in a way that feels rather formulaic. On This Silence Kills, she sounded like a songwriter newly liberated by the textural and compositional possibilities of electronic music. Here, her engagement sounds more deliberate and less fun. Dour, piano-led ballads such as "A Matter Of Time," "4Ever" and "You Cover Me" define the feel of the album. They play out against a backdrop of quirky electronic detail (brooding bass pads, sluggish drums, medieval choirs) that feels like an afterthought rather than part of the songs' natural evolution. Consequently, those two strands of Dillon's sound rarely coalesce here to produce anything compelling.
Dillon hasn't lost her ability to write an insidious melody or tug at your heart strings, though, and when she gets a little more creative with her arrangements, The Unknown sparks to life. The melancholy "Evergreen" is shot through with the chattering instability of early New Order, while on the tremulous "Don't Go" Dillon's tricksy vocal is the star at the centre of a sparkling constellation of piano, asthmatic percussion, footwork rhythms and tumbling arps. In such moments, you can hear what might have been, and what is hopefully still to come.