viernes, 25 de mayo de 2012

Regina Spektor - Crítica de MOJO



Detrás de esta teenager portada se esconde un disco más serio de lo que parece...

Old school meets scattershot eccentricity on chanteuse's sixth album.

Some artists need to create a biographical hinterland - an inflated back-story that lends colour to musical musings which, likely as not, have been minted in eventless suburbia. Not so Regina Ilynichna Spektor. Born 32 years ago in the USSR, raised on her father's illicit Moody Blues cassettes and schooled by her music professor mother, she and the family emigrated at communism's fall, eventually settling in New York City. There, Spektor would begin an impudent artistic odyssey, synagogue piano studies evolving into a quirky, mellifluous songwriting style - and with it a keening voice and an appetite for ballsy performance, whetted by the burgeoning anti-folk movemente.

Nowadays Peter Gabriel covers her songs and the Obamas have her over to entertain, but while Spektor's rise has been inexorable and global hers remains a relatively discreet stardom. The 11 curiously catchy, rarely conventional songs here won't after that, but while unashamedly roaming a distaff dominion staked out by Tori Amos, My Brightest Diamond and Fiona Apple, Spektor's voice and songs remain singular, a beguilingly honest marriage innocence and Weltschmerz which, her fondness for hip-hop gesture notwithstanding, is closer to Carole King or Joni Mitchell than any of her peers.

Spektor may not quite be a lady of the LA canyons, but "What we saw from the cheap seats" was recorded there (with Eminem/Dr Dre producer Mike Elizondo - one of four helmsmen on 2009's understandably patchy "Far") and opener "Small town moon" ceratinly begings in classic, intimate singer-songwriter mode before ceding to unexpectedly rumbustious beats and a breathless, carpe diem lyric ("Today we're younger than we're ever going to be"). Her cosmopolitanism soon manifests: "Oh, Marcello" solders Italianate rapping to syllable-elasticating vocals acrobatics, child-like drum-roll impersonations and a wholesale lift from the Benjamin/Caldwell/Marcus standard "Don't let me be misunderstood"; while "Ne me quitte pass" (not the Jacques Brel song) melds a Carl Orff Schulwerk-style marimba pattern to summery drums and a sugary-simple, undeniable chorus.

World-weariness seeps in with "Firewood", a song built around a deftly extended piano metaphor whose incipient power balladry soon meanders into oddball, Mary Margaret O'Hara territory - a catch in the vocal over a sudden, minor chord on the chorus even suggets Harry Nilsson. She reserves the darker stuff for the latter half: the urgent, vocally gymnastic, lyrically opaque "All the rowboats", coolly sardonic "Ballad of a politician" ("A man inside a room is shaking hands with other men") and melodramatic, redemptive "Open" welding a spirited, mordant troubadour style to chrome-clean hip-hop production dynamics.

It could be an incongruos marriage, but Spektor delivers everything with such guileless brio that you never notice the join.

4 estrellas de 5.

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