Tributee: Burt Bacharach.
Personnel: Marisa Kuney , Amy Wickman, Daphne Chen, Leah Katz (violin); Richard Dodd (cello).
Audio Mixer: Rob Shirakbari.
Arranger: Rob Shirakbari.
After trying her hand at writing her own vintage-inspired material with 2014's Into Colour, singer Rumer returns to her core inspiration of covering classic '60s and '70s pop with 2016's sophisticated This Girl's in Love (A Bacharach & David Songbook). Produced by her husband and longtime collaborator Rob Shirakbari at Capitol Studios, This Girl's in Love finds Rumer applying her supple vocals and soft-focus aesthetic to songs written by the legendary team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. While Rumer has most certainly sung many of these songs in live settings, it's surprising, given her association with the time period, that she's never actually recorded any of this material in the past. Here, we get renditions of such beloved songs as Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love," the Carpenters' "(They Long to Be) Close to You," and Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By." We also get to hear a sweetly gruff-voiced Bacharach sing the intro to the album's title track, a rewording of the Herb Alpert hit "This Guy's in Love with You." Thankfully, Rumer and Shirakbari don't simply stick to the best-of hits and additionally pepper the album with some well-curated, lesser heard choices like the poetic "Balance of Nature," the heartbreaking "Are You There (With Another Girl)," and the harmonically nuanced "The Last One to Be Loved." As with past Rumer albums, these are gorgeously rendered productions featuring orchestral-tinged arrangements from Shirakbari that capture the golden era of soft pop without falling into garish pastiche. While the album is technically one of Rumer's most faithfully old-school, it still sounds fresh, and the analog production aesthetic only works to magnify the purity, lyricism, and expressiveness of her voice. If Rumer has consistently drawn favorable comparisons to the late Karen Carpenter in the past, This Girl's in Love (A Bacharach & David Songbook) will do nothing to diminish them. Ultimately, it serves to reinforce the idea that Rumer stands as one of the brightest torchbearers for the easy listening AM pop that Carpenter, and more specifically, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, helped make such an indelible part of 21st century pop history. ~ Matt Collar