Local Wire

Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor's tricky tongue and fading Russian accent separate her from the ever-expanding crowd of Tori Amos/Fiona Apple wanna-bes who sport "funky" hats and own well-worn piano stools. Begin to Hope might be less histrionic than 2004's Soviet Kitsch, but it's still great fun to bear witness to this NYC songbird's post-hip-hop Baldwin-pop and quirky balladry. "Better" is the widest-screen song she's ever penned, a populist anthem strengthened by the steady hand of Strokes guitarist Nick Valenti. "20 Years of Snow" finds Spektor alternating unpredictably between Björk-like spoken/sung impressionism and agitated rapping to the ADD rhythms of scattered piano and sprinkled strings. The album's pick to click, "That Time," falls more into a rock vein, with gully-scraping guitars buttressing a litany of chatty reminiscences about old times good, bad, and all-out horrific, as she slurs, yelps and riffs her lyrics.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Cummings