Album: Regina Spektor, Far, (Warner)

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The Independent Culture

She didn't, Spektor admits, know who he was when she hired him, but the decision to recruit ELO maestro Jeff Lynne to produce numerous tracks on her fifth studio album has proven a happy accident.

Lynne, one of four producers, adds sumptuousness to tracks such as "Blue Lips", but the Russian New Yorker is too restless to stay in one mode for long. She's at her best telling intimate, piano-based fables on the environment, and at her worst when making direct statements (the atheist-bashing banality of "Laughing With").