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Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012

Meklit & Quinn

Meklit & Quinn (Porto Franco Records)

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On their self-titled debut album, singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero and vocalist-instrumentalist Quinn DeVeaux partner on an accomplished collection of originals and covers. The music melts through genre boundaries, suggesting low-key ’70s soul on one track and after-hours jazz on another. Judicious use of reverb endows many tracks with a hint of retro and a shadow of sonic depth. Talking Heads’ “This Must Be the Place” is given an elaborate vocal arrangement (one imagines it could be sung a capella) and Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love” is transformed into chamber jazz. While Hadero’s voice sometimes recalls the buttery feel of Joni Mitchell, much of the music suggests a collaboration between Bill Withers and Roberta Flack, circa 1970, that would have resulted in one great recording.