Keren Ann, '101' (EMI)

Critical Mass
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Label: EMI

by Mike Powell

Keren Ann's languid orchestral pop is suffused with equal parts Parisian lounge, Golden Age of Hollywood, and polished folk song. The atmosphere is pillowy, which makes her wit -- whether whisper-singing about being a starlet on a killing spree or playing wife to a painter who can't keep beautiful girls out of their "luxury basement" -- a good contrast. Here, it's her detours (the disco-lite "My Name Is Trouble" and girl-groupish "Blood on My Hands") that sound sharpest, while some of her more familiar moves lack the glittering arrangements that previously made them shine.

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