It's been a hot minute since Everything But The Girl's last studio album (1999's "Temperamental") and an even hotter minute since Girl frontwoman Tracey Thorn's solo debut (1982's mini-album "A Distan

It's been a hot minute since Everything But The Girl's last studio album (1999's "Temperamental") and an even hotter minute since Girl frontwoman Tracey Thorn's solo debut (1982's mini-album "A Distant Shore"). But Thorn has wrapped work on a new project, "Out of the Woods," due March 20 via Astralwerks.

Two years ago, after a long break from recording, Thorn worked with German duo Tiefschwarz ("Damage"), an experience that got her thinking about the possibility of a new solo album. After giving it major thought, the mother of three -- and wife of Everything but the Girl partner, DJ/producer/label owner Ben Watt -- decided to give it a go.

"When I started this album, I was thinking, 'Well, alright, I want to make a quirky little record, a little bit acoustic, a little bit dance,'" she tells Billboard. "I also thought I was going to do a lot of covers, because I hadn't written anything in a long time. But once I started, I found myself writing more songs and collaborating with people. When the record was finished, I was quite startled. I thought, 'Wow, I made a pop record without really meaning to.'"

One element missing from "Out of the Woods," however, is Watt. "There is an enormous amount of pressure when you live and work together," Thorn explains. "We did that for a lot of years, and we made it work. Now, we have this successful and wonderful balance that works very well. Plus, with this record, I felt I had something to prove to myself, that I needed to assert myself. For me, the danger of working with Ben was that he hadn't had a break from music. I think he might have taken the idea of the record and run with it, and I would have been in the slow lane trying to catch up."

Now that Thorn has broken her solo album hiatus, are there any plans for Everything But The Girl to return to the studio?

"Yeah, we talk about such things," she admits. "But I know it won't happen until we have a really strong idea of what we want to do. We could do it tomorrow, really, but we'd need a reason."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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