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Keren Ann

Keren Ann has come out of her folk/jazz en française shell and created a record with a sense of urgency on this self-titled album--this one, sung entirely in English.

The opening track, "It's All a Lie," is intense and powerful, with guitar power chords that wail into the distance along with sparse cymbal crashes and sobering lyrics: "I'm no better than the rest of the world." "Lay Your Head Down" is almost indie-pop with its simple chorus, "Lay your head down ... in my arms, in my arms," and Keren Ann singing a little louder than normal; the handclaps are a fun rhythmic accompaniment to the violin, guitars and drums.

The aggressive drums and guitar on "It Ain't No Crime," paired with her bluesy, sultry vocals, take her subtle-but-sexy style to the next level. If you really need a comparison, indie-rock mess Cat Power comes to mind, but Keren Ann is so much more in control. "Between the Flatland and the Caspian Sea" is a funky, lush melodic treat with tambourine and light drums bouncing along to guitars and a synthesizer or two as Keren Ann spins her tale of longing.

"Caspia" is the most jarring track on the album, with the band bringing the funk/rock/disco vibe while Keren Ann rocks out with pop synthesizer-esque vocals as the beats get progressively deeper throughout the track. It's a total stretch--and it works. Keren Ann has shown some amazing musical strides, and it's fascinating to watch her evolution.

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