Album: Anjani

Blue Alert, COLUMBIA
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The Independent Culture

Anjani Thomas is the Hawaiian-born wife and musical protégée of Leonard Cohen, who co-wrote and produced the 10 songs that make up Blue Alert in a style that hovers midway between the sensuous simplicity of his own Ten New Songs and the cocktail-jazz croonery of Norah Jones and Katie Melua. Most tracks feature just sparse piano settings, occasionally underscored by organ or illuminated by vibes, over which Anjani's smoky-silky vocals lounge languidly as she reflects upon the myriad mysteries of love. The character of Cohen is silently discernible in the meticulous craft of lines like "Visions of her drawing near/Arise, abide, and disappear", and in striking images such as "Leave to the foghorns our lonesome story", which brings a suitably misty ambience to the Bay Area affair of "The Golden Gate". Only on the concluding "Thanks for the Dance" - a perennial Cohen romantic image - does the mood change significantly, with wistful clarinet and a poignant palm-court cafe arrangement helping celebrate fading pleasures in a bittersweet manner appropriate to such a collusion of Svengali and Trilby: "Thanks for the dance/And the baby I carried/It was almost a daughter or son."

Download This: 'Blue Alert', 'Half the Perfect World', 'No One After You'