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Adrien Reju, Strange Love and the Secret Language (Zip Records)


08/27/15



 Adrien Reju, Strange Love and the Secret Language (Zip Records)

Like Regina Spektor in no-frills mode, this Woodstock, N.Y., singer’s melodic world is a pastel playroom decorated in hooks that aren’t just average-joe ringtones but deeply-thought-out things — KT Tunstall’s first record comes to mind, which is a double-edged sword (hopefully Reju isn’t similarly going to run out of ideas). She perfected this style of soccer-mom-downtime waif-pop while collaborating with Amos Lee in Philadelphia, which speaks to a rare pedigree, and her own tunes are easily the highlights of this record. The low-lights, however, are cover tunes, ironically involving male influence — King Missile’s “Hemophiliac of Love” and Prince’s “If I Was Your Girlfriend” feature “assistance” from A.C. Newman and Zach Djanikian respectively, and neither they nor Reju summon the will to make the songs resonate with any feeling other than duty. But if the covers do offer a positive, it’s more head space for Reju to dream up worthy successors to songs like the Carole King-level “Soul Love” and the Stevie Nicks-ish “You Know More Than I Know.” Lot to look forward to from this girl. A- — Eric W. Saeger
 





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