The Bird and the Bee

I first heard this album at the best French restaurant in Bakersfield, California. (It later closed, despite my wife and I being regular patrons, presumably because Bakersfield.) The server didn't even know who the artist was either, but the beguiling "My Fair Lady" then playing faintly in the background seemed a perfect complement to my steak au poivre. Indeed, Inara George's light, breathy vocals are the real treasure on this album, and the best songs are the ones that put her front and centre ("My Fair Lady" certainly, but also "Again & Again" and especially the ethereal, soulfilling "Spark" as the final track). This is exemplified by the album's weakest moment, the obnoxious "F*cking Boyfriend," which is strident and unpleasant and seemed thrown on the album purely as a temptation to edgy DJs ("I Hate Camera" would be a better choice and is much more original to boot). George wears her bleeding heart on her sleeve a bit much lyrically ("I'm A Broken Heart") and Greg Kurstin's production is best when he backs off, but the album's softer moments deftly evade drowning in saccharine and its harder moments may be less compelling but are no less original. If I ever find another good French restaurant in Bakersfield again, I'll recommend this to them, and that ineffably delicious game sausage they used to serve too. (Content: F-bombs on "F*cking Boyfriend.")