What We Saw From The Cheap Seats
There have always been two Regina Spektors. The sparking, bubble of quirk Regina of Fidelity and On the Radio, and the musing, vulnerable and raw Regina of Samson and Braille.
Forever separated between records, they have now collided in a beguiling mix of classical and brashly modern; an astounding mix and splutter of influences that showcases her irrepressible talent.
The clash is obvious from the opener, Small Town Moon, where heavy piano tracks under her flighty voice before the song opens into a fiery jazz jam. Over thumping toms she asks herself: ‘How can I leave without hurting everyone that made me?”. Following is Oh Marcello, which fuses crazy Italian accents and an injection of The Animals Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.
A Mario Kart inspired Don’t Leave Me recalls On The Radio with some calypso horns and beats. In danger of floating off in the air, she quickly brings everything crashing to earth withFirewood, a searingly cold ballad of mortal illness disguised as a burning piano. This is the second Regina, weaving her voice around the classical runs of the piano- an instrument that seems to be a comfortable extension of herself.
The lightness returns with the screwed hip hop of Patron Saint, before the wistful How. The single, All The Rowboats, is the standout track on the record- a baroque horror story of a museum after dark, spinning dream sequences of piano over thunderclaps of drums.
She regains the comedy of Ballad of a Politician, a satire calling on our elected representatives to “Shake it! Shake it, baby!”.
On her sixth studio album, Spektor has blended her melancholy and quirk into a wonderfully flamboyant and refined record.