Kira Lynn Cain stands at the intersection of alt country and film noir on her debut album The Ideal Hunter. She blurs the boundaries between Americana, dream pop, cabaret, and chamber pop with an innocence and elegance that seems channeled from the vocal pop of the '40s, '50s, and '60s that soundtracked her childhood -- and song titles like "All the Mirrors of the World" and "Devil, Are You?" could double as the names of cult movies or pulp novels from that era. Cain's delicate voice and surreal glamour also calls to mind David Lynch's work with Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise, but The Ideal Hunter's dream world is more eclectic: Cain can make a femme fatale entrance with "White as a Dove," which glides in on darkly glamorous strings, or become a spaghetti western siren on "The Lone" using nothing but her beckoning vocals and an acoustic guitar. In between, she touches on sophisticated Americana à la Calexico or Friends of Dean Martinez with "Arizona," and gives alt country songbirds like Blanche's Tracee Miller and Paula Frazer a run for their money on the double-edged love song "Good." "The Strange Light"'s lullaby waltz and "View of Nowhere"'s lush romanticism are two of The Ideal Hunter's sweetest reveries, but they're too strange to be syrupy; it's not every love song that features lyrics like "Nowhere"'s "You ride a broken machine/Into some trembling scene". Likewise, the album's darker moments, such as the somber "Chills" and "Under Somebody's Hand"'s star-crossed glamour, add depth to its dreaminess. The Ideal Hunter may be gentle, but it leaves a powerful, and haunting, impression.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares