Kate St. John

Second Sight

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Kate St. John continues to pursue a pop/classical hybrid on her second solo album, adding some new elements along the way. At basis, the multi-instrumentalist (her chief axes being oboe, saxophone, and cor anglais) is interested in writing and singing art songs, using the Alhambra Quartet and adding her own instruments along with a few others here and there. She sings alternately romantic and lovelorn lyrics in a breathy voice over this calm chamber music for an ethereal effect. But she also offers the occasional change-up, collaborating with Russian rock group Aquarium and its leader, singer/songwriter Boris Grebenshikov, for "A Flicker of Gold" and bringing in slide guitar, accordion, and bajo sexto for the uptempo, Cajun-styled "A Foolish Dance." The result is still a rather esoteric, contemplative collection of original songs. But it will appeal to classical crossover fans of such performers as the Kronos Quartet, Ute Lemper, and Elvis Costello (in his collaboration with the Brodsky Quartet).

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