Keren Ann Not Going Anywhere

Although the style of music is somewhat similar, Keren Ann seems to be a bit of a bizarro Feist. Instead of fleeing our shores to become a celebrated French chanteuse, Keren Ann is already a quite popular and famous one in her home country of France — she already boasts her own biographer — and is now trying to make her mark in North America. Where Feist’s music is lush and slinky, Keren Ann is sparse and confessional as most just include her remarkable voice and simple guitar accompaniment. There are some flourishes of strings, the most admirable being "Seventeen,” which could take its place in a coming-of-age musical set in Paris, and light trumpet that adds flavour to highlight, "By the Cathedral.” There are some missteps; most notably is the poppy "Sailor & Widow” that clunks along heavily, and only when Keren Ann finally gets out of her annoying sing-speak, do things brighten up a bit, but for the most part it’s just plain unremarkable. There is a sleepy nature to both her delivery and the album, but Keren Ann isn’t one to throw her voice into the histrionics that dominate most mainstream music and, besides the aforementioned missteps, her voice lovingly compliments her music. For fans of Feist and Norah Jones, Keren Ann may be your fab new cocktail party soundtrack. (Capitol)