Wed Aug 1 2007
Perhaps the most noticeable thing about Barbara Carlotti is what she does not do. She does not coo her words or breeze through her melodies—her cool, precise mezzo timbre eschews such obvious seductive tactics and slices out whatever extraneous fat would burden the material. Nor does Carlotti hide behind carefully constructed kookiness—another trendy option among current singer-songwriters. Instead, her 2006 album, Les Lys brisés (the first French release on 4AD), relies on the clean production style of the 1960s, with its elastic basslines and dry drum sound, acoustic guitars strummed so crisply that you can almost feel the pressure of fingers against strings. This restraint helps make Les Lys brisés a marvel of timeless elegance and dry humor—no wonder Carlotti’s French-language cover of the Zombies’ “A Rose for Emily” fits so perfectly on the album.