KEREN ANN | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

There are moments on Keren Ann, the brand-new fifth album from Israel-born, Paris-bred Keren Ann Zeidel, where it's clear English isn't her mother tongue: when the phrase "boreal wind" turns up in a second song, for instance, or when she sings "I miss you as hell." But fixating on word usage would be missing the point. Zeidel's albums in French were great too, and she'd likely sound great in Magyar--it's the cool sensuality of her vocals, the way she shapes the words, that makes her music so dazzling. The crawling tempos and post-Velvets guitar feel on many of the new tunes initially reminded me of Mazzy Star, but Keren Ann manages to wring more emotion out of the simple chorus of "Lay Your Head Down" (a song plainly extrapolated from the famed slow-build intro to "Heroin") than Hope Sandoval has delivered in her whole career. Her own producer, Zeidel has said that this time out she focused on the sounds as well as the performances, and it shows: her voice is placed faultlessly amid the warm, strummy arrangements, every syllable creating a kind of tactile joy. Jason Hart opens. a 9 PM, Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $15, $13 in advance. A

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