Fans of bluesy jazz-pop crooners Norah Jones and Joss Stone need to sit up and take notice of Katie Melua. Following up on the success of "Call off the Search" (2003), her much anticipated second album doesn't disappoint, and the twelve gorgeous tracks are guaranteed to mellow you to perfection.
Released since September 2005 in Europe, the Brits have a nine month jump on the USA, but finally this baby has arrived stateside amidst much rejoicing and celebration. Originally from Georgia (the former USSR, not the peachy place) and now settled in the UK, Katie's sultry voice curls around your speakers and nestles comfortably against your eardrums, and even though I'm no fan of either jazz or blues, I thoroughly enjoyed this album from the first listen.
First single "Nine Million Bicycles" is an excitingly different and unforgettable track that starts with a simple truth: "There are nine million bicycles in Beijing / That's a fact / It's a thing we can't deny / Like the fact that I will love you till I die." The music is hauntingly beautiful, perfectly matched by Katie's clean, clear vocals.
Although every track is a winner, there are those that cry out for more attention, namely "Just Like Heaven" from the movie soundtrack of the same name; the social commentary of "Spider's Web"; bouncy opener "Shy Guy" and the passionately performed title track; but let's not forget the cover of the Canned Heat 1960's hit "On the Road Again" and the catchy "Halfway Up the Hindu Kush". "Thank You, Stars" is another perfect song, and to be honest, I should be recommending every song on this album.
"Piece by Piece" is highly recommended for fans of blues, jazz, pop and intelligent yet romantic music, and that's no exaggeration.