First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2006, Volume 13, #6
Written by John Metzger
Over the course of the past 20 years, Anjani Thomasí role with fabled Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has shifted slowly but surely from that of a backing musician to that of a full-blown accomplice. On Cohenís 2004 endeavor Dear Heather, she not only played piano, but she also sang as his equal and co-wrote a pair of songs, all of which served as a prelude to her major label debut Blue Alert. Produced by Cohen and filled with material that was sculpted from an array of his leftover lyrical fragments, the albumís wispy, cabaret-inflected atmosphere is bolstered as much by Thomasí sad yet sultry vocals as it is by the duoís weighty words. Only Nightingale truly falls flat, largely because it is played so straight that it succumbs completely to its pristine softness and shrugs off the emotional residue that clings tightly to the remainder of the affair. By swerving from the smoky jazz inflections of the title track to the mysterious sensuality of No One after You and from the ethereal bossa nova groove of Half the Perfect World to the haunting, country-soul arrangement of Never Got to Love You, Thomas and Cohen succeed in keeping the minimalist, melancholy flavor of Blue Alert from becoming overly claustrophobic. The results frequently are as intriguing as they are subtle, and as the collectionís elegant warmth clashes with its air of heartbroken yearning, Thomasí beckoning siren song becomes impossible to resist.
Of Further Interest...
Blue Alert is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box