Regina Spektor – 'What We Saw From The Cheap Seats'

Read our review of Regina Spektor's latest LP and tell us what you think

  • Regina Spektor – 'What We Saw From The Cheap Seats' album review

    Rating: 3/5
    by Kim Taylor Bennett

    London’s introduction to Regina Spektor came way back in 2003. As she plunged in at the deep end by opening for The Strokes on their second album tour, she seemed an unlikely support. But as she bashed at the piano with her left hand, thwacked a wooden chair with her right and sang with playful zeal, Spektor was a revelation.

    Although she was no newbie – the classically trained, Moscow-born pianist already had two LPs to draw from and was a familiar face on New York’s then burgeoning anti-folk scene – it was 2004’s ‘Soviet Kitsch’, which launched her international career. With each subsequent record, Spektor’s sound become more polished, yet her newfound sheen was always balanced by odd enunciation and surprising vocal rhythms: ticks that kept her distinct. Come July the 32-year-old will play to a sold-out Royal Albert Hall.

    For this fourth album she’s reteamed with producer Mike Elizondo (Eminem) and unfortunately it’s her most traditional offering yet: mid-tempo numbers ‘How’, ‘Jessica’ and ‘Firewood’ are sweet yet ultimately unremarkable. Where Spektor excels is during the building drama of ‘All the Rowboats’, or on ‘The Party’, where she blows melodic raspberries backed by brass. Then there’s the minimalist grace of ‘Open’, punctuated by strangulated gasps. The yo-yoing ‘Small Town Moon’ is a refreshing reminder of her ability to unify the dual aspects of her craft, because truly, Spektor’s spark lies in indulging her whimsy.