Regina Spektor

Begin To Hope | Sire
By KERRY SMITH  |  October 2, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars

The witty, political landmines that dotted Regina Spektor’s debut, Soviet Kitsch, spared the Russian-born singer-songwriter a lifetime of comparisons with that other beloved classically trained singer-pianist. But Begin To Hope opens with a domino-like line-up of love songs that suggest there’s more than one side to this Lower East Side anti-folk star. Having spent time on the road with NYC’s kings of skinny jeans the Strokes, she apparently fell under the spell of Cupid. Yet for those of us who prefer the Spektor who stamps out a Lucky Strike at 3 am while banging out a few piano chords to wrap her biting, baby-doll voice around, the salacious “That Time” and the raw “Summer in the City” confirm her knack for undercutting clever turns of lyric with a breathy vocal delivery. Her instrumental skills on “Après Moi” could even create a run on piano lessons. And the tribute to Billie Holiday, “Lady,” features sax player Ralph Williams taking her off in yet another direction. Just when you think you’ve got Spektor pigeonholed, she surprises on this always ambitious, occasionally experimental, and sometimes even radio-friendly sophomore album.

Regina Spektor | Avalon, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | October 6 | 617.228.6000

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