14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Indian Summer / Autumn Leaves,
This review is from: Nolita (Audio CD)
Two / three weeks ago, more or less as the same time of this album's release in the UK, I heard the song 'La Forme et la Fond' in the radio. The DJ didn't say who sings it, but I knew it could well be Keren Ann, just from what I previously read about her. It turned out that I was right, and this incredible song - that starts with a bass riff that follows a similar chord sequence to the one in Jane Birkin's 'Jane B' and turns, in the chorus, into this beautiful 'end of a French Film' melancholic melody - is track on the album.
Funnily enough, that's probably the only song in this LP that really follows the way I perceived Ann. It's also the only one without the acoustic guitar that dominates the album. The Times gave `Nolita' five stars and categorized it under Singer/Songwriter. I think that the songs in French, which are clearly influenced by Air, Serge Gainsbourg and Francoise Hardy, deserve that mark, but the ones in English work for me best when they sound more like The Velvet Underground ('Chelsea Burns' and 'Nolita') then an improved version of Beth Orton, Kathryn Williams, Dido or other female singer/songwriters.
I think Ann's strength lies in her ability to be a lot more flexible than the 'every song sounds the same' thread of her female counterparts. The last song 'Song of Alice' proves it, when she just does backing vocals and leaves the microphone to a guest male singer (Sean Gullett).
A perfect autumn album that I'm sure will spin on my stereo even more come October-November. Just listen to 'La Forme et le Fond' and 'L'Onde Amere' and you'll be hooked too.