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The kooky Russian-born straddler of the cult and mainstream has a few welcome surprises up her sleeve on her latest venture.

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Spektor’s first new material in three years, recorded over eight weeks in Los Angeles, continues with the quaint, poppy and self-consciously kooky modus operandi that has won her many fans.

Her playful theatricality is largely pleasing on this sixth release, save for How’s irritating piano signature and the heavily sherbert-dusted plinky-plonk of Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas).

It’s perhaps telling that one of the best tunes here is the philsophical, pretention-free and lightly swooning trad ballad Firewood.

But it’s when she strays from the expected that she starts to mine richer seams.

The addition of synth beats to All The Rowboats - where paintings ‘serving life sentences’ in art galleries, the price for being timeless - lifts it to new heights.

Perhaps it’s our dismal summer, but on this record even the exuberant treats she’s known for reeling out feel like a refreshing, warm spring breeze.

4 stars

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