On the quirky scale, Regina Spektor makes Zooey Deschanel look like Jennifer Aniston. Everything about the Russian-born singer-songwriter is a little bit skewed-- her accent, phrasing, pronunciation, hooks. So, after toiling in the downtown NYC scene for the first half of the decade, it was a pleasant surprise when her 2006 album Begin to Hope cracked Billboard's Top 20 on the strength of bittersweet pop bites like "Fidelity" and "Better". Based on an advance listen to some of the tracks from her follow-up, Far (due in June via Sire), we can happily report that success hasn't spoiled Spektor's oddball charisma.
For Far, the singer enlisted a quartet of hit-making producers: Begin to Hope's David Kahne, Mike Elizondo (Fiona Apple, Maroon 5), Garret "Jacknife" Lee (U2, R.E.M.), and-- most surprisingly-- ELO frontman/Paul McCartney and George Harrison collaborator/Traveling Wilburys member/overall rock'n'roll institution Jeff Lynne.