Album: Eilen Jewell, Sea of Tears, (Signature)

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Letters from Sinners... was a charming minor classic of countryish Americana. Sea of Tears reveals this oddball Idaho-raised Bostonian to be a closet retro-rocker.

She likes twangy, reverbed guitars and a thwacked backbeat, and if her reading of our Johnny Kidd's great "Shakin' All Over" is elliptical – she doesn't shake so much as tremor delicately – that doesn't mean she ain't entitled. Rock'n'roll can afford a little feminisation, and when it's done with this much sensibility it should sodding well rejoice.