As The Strokes producer, Gordon Raphael has established himself as one of the best pairs of ears currently working in the ‘industry’. Further proof of his talent is provided in the form of “Soviet Kitsch” by Regina Spektor the debut LP release from Raphael’s nascent Shoplifter Records.
Spektor is of Russian origin, classically trained & disgustingly talented. She tickles the ivories in a way that would make Tori Amos blush. She wavers between octaves in a manner that would send Bjork green with envy. She writes tunes that would make Emmylou Harris or Joni Mitchell swoon - & lyrics that would sit just fine in any collection of poetry. “Soviet Kitsch” is a fine body of work. Piano ballads, kookyness in spades, surprise art-rock ‘interfaces’ (featuring Kill Kenada) - & one of the most glorious female voices since I don’t know when. Regina Spektor has it all.
The first time I listened to “Soviet Kitsch” I was enraptured. It’s a simply addictive set of songs - beautifully arranged & sincerely performed. Spektor sings of break ups, wealth & it’s drawbacks, pollution, love, relationships, sailors, the law, consumerism, cancer & death. Her voice flutters & falls sometimes in the same verse/chorus her range & depth are breathtaking. “Us” & “Somedays” are amongst the most gorgeous songs I have ever heard in my entire life. Regina Spektor is that good.
I have been living with “Soviet Kitsch” for a month now - & I haven’t grown tired of it yet (‘it’s contagious’ “Us”). It sooths, challenges & amuses all at the same time. It’s music for lovers with attitude. The soundtrack to a million illicit affairs. It’s the kind of LP you have to put on again from the start if some one interrupts. It’s music you don’t want to talk over the top of. It’s music you want to hold to your chest & drown in forever.
Thank fuck for The Strokes & their success with out them we may never have discovered Regina Spektor.
The Katestar tMx 16 08/04