Songs For The Jet Set

Isabel Monteiro is a woman well known for her passion.

Onstage, when the Brazilian-born artist isn't bantering about her 'intimate relations' with Drugstore's three other members, she sings with the guile of a mischievous siren.

This third album comes as something of a surprise, though. While Monteiro still possesses the voice to charm sailors from any ship, this time round her words are suffused with world-weary sadness rather than ebullient sensuality.

On 'Song For the Lonely', she croons, "I'm singing for the lonely/Keep them in your minds/I'm singing for the ones/We've left behind/Lost in space and time." In the background, a cello swoops and soars elegantly to the beat of feathery light drumming.

Atmospheric pedal steel sets the lo-fi tone of 'Baby Don't Hurt Yourself', where Monteiro again meditates on the cruel blows of experience. "Your guiding star/Seems to be so far away," she sings tenderly.

Although all eleven tracks on the album walk a very fine line between repetitive, soporific depression and touchingly dark melancholy, most of the time, Drugstore's deftness of touch steers them in the right direction.

There are moments, though, when the magic fails. While 'Little Girl' does possess a wonderfully chunky cello part, the lyrics are too twee to bear much thinking about ("Little girl/Your life has only begun" etc.). On 'Hate', the band's quality control deserts them once again - they team wishy-washy lyrics with weakly bland backing arrangements.

Fortunately, Drugstore can elevate their rank depression to something of an art form. Monteiro's duet with Daron Robinson on 'The Party is Over' is gorgeously delicate, while the ethereal 'Wayward Daughter', which features her almost whispering her words, impresses more and more with each listen.

Best appreciated in the wee small hours.

 
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