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This Syrian-born, L.A.-based singer-songwriter truly comes into her own with her second full-length — a lush, low-key album that bears traces of Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Beck’s “Morning Phase.” That latter reference is no accident, as the album features three of the skinny bard’s longtime collaborators — ace guitarist Smokey Hormel and drummer Joey Waronker as well as producer Guy Seyfert — but her songs bear no resemblance to his, instead recalling some of the edgier Southern California soft rock of the early ‘70s — Judee Sill and even Jackson Browne — and the above artists.

While the album vaults Bedouine’s songwriting and singing into a whole new realm, credit is especially due to Seyfert, who’s done a beautiful job of creating an unobtrusively lush musical frame for her gentle, almost deadpan vocals and melodies (props are also due to string arranger Trey Pollard, and Thom Monahan for a pristine mix). But as inviting as the music may be, the cryptic lyrics are often barbed and a little unsettling — and not surprisingly, there’s a gaggle of bird references.

The album is also peppered with strategically placed directional turns, particularly on “Dizzy,” where the band launches into a jazzy middle section, meshing the orchestra with a spiky guitar solo and providing a tactful, tasteful counterpoint to the plush comforter of sound redolent of the rest of the album; the same is true for the languid, almost bluesy closer, “Tall Man,” which makes a perfect, dreamy sendoff for an album that wraps the listener in a soft embrace that’s alluring but never demanding.

Album Review: Bedouine’s ‘Bird Songs of a Killjoy’

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