If I owned a restaurant in Yorkville (which I don't), I wouldn't play Norah Jones for ambience - too obvious. No, I'd probably go for something like the lesser-known Katie Melua's debut album on Dramatico, with whom the 19-year-old UK-based, Moscow-born jazz singer has signed a five-album contract. Yep, a little more international, not nearly as smoky-sounding and just as tightly produced, her album features crisp swingin' instrumentation with delicate strings and much guitar pluckin' handled by Melua. The lyrics are often full of clever poetry with an Andrew Lloyd Webber sensibility to some of the numbers. And while Melua's young voice smacks of inexperience, which is something you don't necessarily want in a loungy crooner, this is still a lazy, hypnotic affair and a perfect way to distract people from the $85 price tag I'd slap on the entrees.
Katie Melua croons at the Mod Club Theatre tonight (Thursday, June 17).