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"Anjani: Blue Alert,"

This Week in New York

June 21, 2006
(3.25 out of 4)
Youíll want to sit back with a cigarette and a strong whiskey while listening to this beautiful album from Anjani Thomas, the inimitable Leonard Cohenís longtime backup singer and constant companion. Touched by an unused Cohen lyric, Anjani went through boxes of Cohenís writings, finding inspiration in sometimes only a single line, which she then expanded with Cohen, working on the words together, but set to her own tender arrangements. (Cohen also coproduced the record, with Anjani and Ed Sanders.) "Thereís perfume burning in the air / Bits of beauty everywhere / Shrapnel flying; soldier hit the dirt / Blue Alert," Anjani sings on the title track, and indeed, thereís bits of beauty to be found everywhere on the album. On the gorgeous late-night lament "Innermost Door," she sings, "When I am alone / Youíll come back to me / Itís happened before / Itís called memory." In "The Golden Gate," haunting words set the scene: "Four oíclock and the fog comes in / We all remember the sea / For several seconds our sins are forgiven / Mine against yours, yours against mine." Greg Liesz contributes lap steel and Danny Frankel drums to the bluesy "Never Got to Love You." "The Mist" becomes a spare Irish ballad. Anjani uses a breathy, sadly erotic voice in "Crazy to Love You" as she remembers, "I had to go crazy to love you / Had to let everything fail / Had to be people I hated / Had to be no one at all." The record closes with the gorgeous "Thanks for the Dance," a waltz with John Lissauer adding clarinet and keyboards. Stay with this disc; give it a few spins and youíll find it, as Anjani sings in the noirish "Half the Perfect World," "transparent, weightless, luminous Ö unwilled, unleashed, unbound."

http://www.anjani-music.com

http://leonardcohenfiles.com



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