Vicky Pratt Keating proves herself to be a woman of unusual talents on her album Blue Apples. With accompaniment from instruments as diverse as uilleann pipes and bouzouki, her lyrics range cover an equally improbable range of topics, from a trip into the Amazon to the plight of Native Americans. Her curiously lilting voice is a good match for the eclectic nature of instruments and material, although on several tracks it is occasionally difficult to make out the lyrics. That isn't always a failing in itself -- think of the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser -- but with this material it serves less to transcend the written lyrics than to obscure them.
From time to time, the vocal and instrumental lines on particular tracks go in too-fanciful directions simultaneously, thereby fighting for the listener's attention and diminishing what would otherwise be compelling to the ear. On tracks like "rough draft," however, Keating is in top form both as musician and songwriter, and the results are both delicate and moving. Intricate and soulful, this is an album that reveals more and more of the musician's art with each successive hearing.