Jill Barber

Mischievous Moon

BY Andrea WarnerPublished Apr 5, 2011

From the initial soaring strings on singer-songwriter Jill Barber's fourth album, Mischievous Moon, glamour beckons. Sad bus rides and boring living rooms are transformed instantly to some sort of old Hollywood sound stage where virtually every moment is steeped in elegance and beauty, with the occasional hint of, yes, mischief. Moon's best songs stay true to this formula, whereas the album's two weakest tracks ("Took Me By Surprise" and "Any Fool Can Fall In Love") take a misstep into lively bossa nova territory. But "Daydreamin'" is a drowsy, sweet concoction, the missing song from a choreographed dance between Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. "A Wish Under My Pillow" is an adorable throwback, featuring a brief, delightful tap dance sequence. On "Steal Away," Barber turns up the heat and the heart, a seductress looking to her flame for a way out. Barber's voice ― Moon's most poignant instrument ― alternates smoothly between little girl purr and full strength soar, getting its best showcases during the exquisite "Dis-Moi" and tortured lament "If It Weren't for Loving You." With Moon, Barber's transition from folkie to femme fatale is complete.

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