Ute Lemper Between Yesterday and Tomorrow

Ute Lemper Between Yesterday and Tomorrow
From opener "The Greatest Ride," Ute Lemper makes her new sound clear. Over percolating production courtesy of keyboardist Vana Gierig, Lemper recasts herself as a soul pop singer-songwriter. There's still an element of Weimar-era cabaret in her vocal delivery, hybridized with the wooliness of Janis Joplin. Lemper straddles both worlds throughout — "Blood and Feathers" returns Lemper to a setting dominated by bandoneon and strings, lyrics imbued with Brechtian seediness, and she sounds more at home before it launches into a relatively normal pop chorus. Another nod to her previous repertoire comes from Leo Ferré's "La Mémoire et la Mer," anchored by Mark Lambert's guitar and Gierig's string arrangement, which is by far the most compelling piece here. Many of the lyrics are awkward in their ambition — "Luna" and "Ghosts of Berlin" prove too wordy for the grooves that Gierig constructs underneath. "September Mourn" fares better, with Lambert's poignant string arrangement embracing Lemper's September 11 lament. (Naxos)