Rachel Zeffira

The Deserters

(RAF Records)

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Rachel Zeffira, of Cat's Eyes, has crafted a smoky, wispy, immersive delight of an album here. What it lacks in lasting impact – no one melody really catches your ear – it makes up for in lovely warmth and beauty when it is playing. Zeffira, a classically trained singer from Canada, played most of the instruments on these songs, and none is better than the first, the beautiful, cinematic Deserters. The best single song on the album, one can imagine it soundtracking an indie movie (or possibly a camera advert) fairly soon. Letters From Tokyo (Sayonara) flirts with some worrying Enya-esque atmospheres, but a surprisingly effective cover of My Bloody Valentine's To Here Knows When replaces that song's overwhelming sonic thickness and suffocating intensity with ululating pianos and echoing clarity. Churchy organs and pattering tom-toms close the album out on Goodbye Divine. Zeffira has a lovely soprano, and one wishes it was often closer to the microphone, rather than sunk into the sea of tastefully chosen orchestration. A promising solo debut.

Phil Miller