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Rachael Yamagata, ‘Elephants…and Teeth Sinking Into Heart’ (Warner Bros.)

picture-18328-1372869155By: David Peisner // October 13, 2008

Rachael Yamagata’s second album, primarily produced by multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis (best known for his work with Bright Eyes) unwinds like a melancholy film score: Delicate piano and acoustic guitar melodies lay across strings and muffled beats, while her smoky voice mourns lovers who leave at a bad time and return at a worse one. Add some cheap scotch and you’ve essentially got a John Cassavetes movie. The second half changes gears, with guitars snarling and snapping, and Yamagata ripping into old flames with a sharp tongue and sharper teeth. She’s more convincing as a moper, but the album’s alternately punchy and slinky conclusion is heartening proof that she’s no quitter.

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