Not Going Anywhere
Every time I listen to Israeli-born, Paris-based Keren Ann I feel transported to the folk-rock days of Simon & Garfunkel, Laura Nyro and Janis Ian. There's something about her Joni Mitchell-meets-Carole King lyrics (up until now, all written in French) and alternatively startling and soothing, honey-and-vinegar voice that makes you want to toss on something tie-dyed and point your rusted out Volkswagen van toward Mecca, er, Woodstock. Not Going Anywhere (Metro Blue), Ann's third studio album, her U.S. premiere and first in English (featuring seven new songs and an additional four translated from her 2002 triumph La Disparition), is no exception. Admittedly, the disc lives up to its title for the first little while as she seemingly sleepwalks through such lesser (at least by her high standards) compositions as "Polly" and "End of May." Then she jolts us awake with the saucy "Sailor & Widow" and holds our attention fast through such accomplished delights as the teenage lament "Seventeen," the gently swinging "Spanish Song Bird" and the melancholy musings of "By the Cathedral" about a runaway bride. Here's hoping she's welcomed on this side of the Atlantic with the same warm embrace that has greeted her throughout Europe.