Ximena Sariñana, 'Ximena Sariñana' (Warner Bros.)

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Ximena Sariñana
Critical Mass
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Label: Warner Bros.

by Mikael Wood

This Mexican singer-songwriter is a well-knownactress at home, so it's no surprise how easily Sariñana slips between roles on her English-language debut. Trilling sweetly over burbling synths (via Lily Allen producer Greg Kurstin), she plays an elusive dance-pop pixie on "Different," then flexes a Cat Power-style sangfroid on "Shine Down," surrounded by Dave Sitek's pins-and-needles guitar. Sariñana reverts to Spanish for the disc's most intimate cut, "Tu y Yo," which features the Mars Volta's Omar Rodriguez-Lopez on bass. It's just one more intriguing choice on an album full of them.

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