Regina Spektor: Begin to Hope (Warners)

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Regina Spektor: 20 Years of Snow
Regina Spektor: Begin to Hope (Warners)

No tickets on myself, but I heard of Spektor about three or four years ago when I was in London seeing one of my sons: he was working with the producer Gordon Raphael who had produced the Strokes, and Gordon gave me a disc of songs by other people he had recorded and held out great hopes for.

One of them was by Spektor which I really liked, so when I came back home I told people to watch out for her, then promptly forgot her as she seemed to disappear.

Actually she didn't fade away, just went off to make a couple of acclaimed if modest-selling major-label albums. This second one from last year really hasn't caught on in New Zealand yet -- a single is getting some airplay however -- although that will doubtless come after she plays here.

A New Yorker who toured with the Strokes, she doesn't really sound like she could command a club full of new-New Wave fans but apparently she can. Spektor here mostly drives her songs from piano but her distinctive vocals are the immediate hook, and she has a way of bending a melody into unexpected shapes.

Just when you think she is plodding a familiar path she upsets expectation, and also has her songs embellished by interesting arrangements which include subtle elements of electronica, the odd sax passage and a bit of guitar here and there.

It is canny but doesn't sound calculated, and can be undeniably poppy (in a very good way) without compromising itself.

Spektor -- a name you don't forget. 

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