New Release (Sire)
If you can’t take the cute and quirky side of Regina Spektor, be warned that this one’s going to send you running for the hills. But if you accept her eccentricities as part of the picture, her sixth studio album will yield the usual sweet pop rewards. Her more precious moments are right upfront; on the opener “Small Town Moon” she shows how many times you can cram the word “baby” into one line, and “Oh Marcello” finds her jumping in and out of East European accents while stealing some old Animals lyrics. When she hits the campy “Don’t Leave Me,” you wonder if she’ll ever get serious. And then she does: “How” is a five-minute ballad that drops the vocal acrobatics in favor of honest emotion. “Patron Saint” has chord changes in the chorus that Laura Nyro (or Todd Rundgren in his Nyro-influenced phase) would’ve loved. And the single, “All the Rowboats” is her best track since “Fidelity” — though it’s quite different, with a dark cabaret feel and a few striking images in the lyric. It’s enough to prove she’s a more substantial artist than she sometimes lets on.
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