Though Lisa Papineau has landed such notable gigs as vocalist on M83’s Before The Dawn Heals Us and Air’s 10,000 Khertz and Talkie Walkie, my first introduction to the New England-raised artist’s music was actually years earlier, on the mid-‘90s pro-choice compilation Spirit Of ‘73: Rock For Choice; her then-band Pet contributed a faithful but edgy cover of Olivia Newton-John’s classic ballad “Have You Never Been Mellow,” which has since become an all-time favorite of mine. The problem with Papineau is that, like Newton-John, her voice is paper-thin—a perfect match for gauzy, background buzz like Air—and she’s usually only as good as her source material. The fact that Papineau wrote the majority of the wispy songs on her debut Night Moves solo is an admitted knock to her composing abilities, particularly since the album’s strongest, most fully-formed song, “Call Me Frenchy,” was co-written by her band. The album—which, though impeccably produced, is nothing we haven’t heard before—could have benefited from a few more unexpected moments like the one midway through “The Quiet Storm” when Papineau sings “dance dance dance dance” like a computerized club diva. Still, like “Have You Never Been Mellow,” tracks like the organ-infused “LP Beat” and the piano-driven “The End Of Desire” are pleasant enough to warrant repeat listens—and maybe even earn a spot on your permanent chill-out playlist.
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