posted on July 23, 2007 05:57
A fine work of Cohen- and Reed-influenced lo-fi folk-pop from a globetrotting chanteuse. One to put alongside Feist as this year's coffee-table albums of choice, perhaps?
The CLUAS Verdict? 7 out of 10
Born in Israel, raised in the Netherlands, matured in Paris and domicile in New York, Keren Ann Zeidel is a successful chanson francaise singer in France. This, her fifth album, is in English and it's good enough to get attention as international as its recording (in studios in Paris, Tel Aviv, New York, Rekjavik and Los Angeles).
Keren Ann's music is not as eclectic as her globetrotting - she sticks mainly to intimate folk-pop, a lo-fi Feist, if you will. For the most part, most noticably on 'The Harder Ships Of The World', she seems heavily influenced by Leonard Cohen's world-weary writing style and murmuring delivery.
Other times, as with many Paris-based female singers these days, Keren Ann also draws heavily on Lou Reed - first single 'Lay Your Head Down' features a 'New York'-style spoken word verse and a blatant VU guitar drone. Her sweet chorus (and some well-placed handclaps) saves the song from being a complete Lou parody, and throughout the album Keren Ann manages to flavour her borrowings with her own personality.
Vocally she barely rises above a low croon, though sometimes with a touch of Beth Gibbons' soulfulness and Stina Nordenstam's quirkiness. Instrumentation is minimal but with enough subtle layers to keep the listener engaged to the end.
The whole package is that of a quiet, thoughtful musician writing melodic and intriguing songs. Definitely worth a listen.