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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hil­lier

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.

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