Close Your Eyes Bic Runga Sony The Shaky Isles’ most popular female singersongwriter of recent decades breaks new ground with her fifth album. Close Your Eyes is covers oriented but also spans the history of baby boomer pop, so it’s paradoxical that the synth-saturated title track is self-composed and among the set’s more contemporary productions. Dream a Dream, the stronger of Runga’s originals, has a 1960s feel consistent with the old school, home studio approach adopted by the songstress and her partner, Kody Nielson, who covered all facets of production and recorded mostly on analog equipment. A 2008 song penned by Nielson’s band the Mint Chicks, Life Will Get Better Some Day, compares unfavourably with vintage covers such as Runga’s take on Things Behind the Sun, which is more animated than the original without forfeiting the fragility of Nick Drake’s classic. Her reading of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face is more closely aligned to Roberta Flack’s 1972 chart-topper than the Ewan MacColl original he wrote for Peggy Seeger in the 50s. Neil Young’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart gets a Burt Bacharach makeover. Runga sings Francoise Hardy’s chanson Viens in passable French and, with hubby, hints at Beach Boys’ vocal harmony in The Lonely Sea. A strings-enhanced rendition of the Blue Nile’s 1984 single Tinseltown in the Rain passes muster, while What’cha Say is sufficiently funky to satisfy fans of the Meters.