Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lay Your Head Down, In My Arms

If there is an Internet buzz out there for Israeli-born and French-raised singer-songwriter Keren Ann, I have not yet stumbled across it. If there isn't one, let it begin here.

I can't claim to know that much about her just yet, but her new record, the eponymous Keren Ann, is a sweetly haunting affair. The music on this record, her fifth, develops slowly, set against minimal, folkish instrumentation, gossamer orchestral touches, and just the slightest hints of electronica. The pace and impact of the songs are often reminiscent of The Velvet Underground and the great Mazzy Star.

And like Hope Sandoval of the latter, Keren's honeyed vocals are light and seductive, and slide into your ears like a whisper. She comes across like a noir chanteuse, and it would be easy to imagine her songs playing during the closing credits of some black and white foreign film that ends in regret of some sort or another. Ultimately, this record may be heard as soporific to some, but keen listeners will find that it perfectly represents a smoky, "small hours" sound, full of ghostly shadows and washed-out still life paintings.

MP3: Keren Ann - "In Your Back" from Keren Ann

YouTube: "Lay Your Head Down"