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Lhasa/Lhasa de Sela: Lhasa *

Album Reviews:

Dirty Linen (p.57) - "Lhasa's lyrics have a similar poetic sense of heightened reality as those employed by Iron & Wine..."

Q (Magazine) (p.125) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[H]er languid vocals and stylishly downbeat songs, backed by the occasional clatter of percussion and splinters of electric guitar, underline her individuality..."

Album Notes

Lhasa's earlier work included arrangements that drew on ranchera and Gypsy music, as well as American, Canadian, and Mexican folk, French chanson, and pop. The international flavor is more subtle on LHASA, without vanishing entirely. The songs on the album all deal with love, usually of the obsessive, hopeless, and doomed variety, and even at her most seductive, as on the subtle rock/tango "The Lonely Spider," Lhasa's vocals hint at grief and despair. The song's Latin standup bassline and subtle chiming guitar combine with a muted tango beat to give the song a deeply melancholy air. "Is Anything Wrong" is a bluesy pop song with a haunting melody carried by Lhasa's melisma-drenched vocals. Pedal steel supplies a mournful accent and flamenco handclaps mixed down to the edge of audibility give the song a subtle drive as the singer contemplates the unknowable mysteries of love. "What Kind of Heart" has a vague Eastern European feel; "A Fish on Land" is a folk fable that sounds like ambient flamenco; and "1001 Nights" features Pop Staples-style twang-drenched electric gospel guitar and another languid, slightly anguished vocal. As on her previous albums, the subtle beauty of Lhasa's art unfolds slowly, taking you deeper into her vision with each listen.


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