Saturday, 8 January 2011

Keren Ann: looking for trouble

With new albums this year promised from the likes of U2, Coldplay, Elbow and the Gallagher brothers you may be forgiven for wanting to fast forward to 2012 musically. One ray of hope lies in a new record from Keren Ann: 101.

The Israeli-Dutch-Javanese-Russian star rose to prominence writing for French bossa veteran Henri Salvador, her reputation cemented by albums La biographie de Luka Philipsen (2000) and La disparition (2002), produced in collaboration with ex Benjamin Biolay. The pair became flagbearers for a Francophone pop nouvelle vague, a role she resented: 'Everybody talks to you about the New French Scene and all that crap'.

Nonetheless, her influences include 1960s French icons Serge Gainsbourg and Françoise Hardy, as well as British pop and American folk, blues and jazz, notably Chet Baker and Billie Holiday. Displaying immaculate taste, Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, Ernst Lubitsch and Romain Gary are among her favourite directors.

When fourth album Nolita (2005) made its Blue Note debut in the UK she described the sound as 'lazy rock - I don't mean inactive, more laid back.' A self-titled fifth followed in 2007 while a taste of the quirky and extremely catchy first single from her new album, My Name is Trouble, trailed on her website late last year. Long used to producing her own work, she's gone one better with 101, which is self-engineered, and is due out here 4 April, later than the rest of Europe, unfortunately.

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