When Regina Spektor’s new album was released last week, it showed up on iTunes’ front page (as most new releases do). But seeing it there triggered a lost memory in my brain. I remembered seeing Regina Spektor perform on SNL one time. And I vaguely remembered looking up some clips of her performances on YouTube.

I previewed What We Saw From the Cheap Seats (Sire Records/2012) and it only took the first three songs — “Small Town Moon,” “Oh Marcello” and “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)” — to convince me. Spektor’s voice is magical, majestic, powerful. The melodies are mellow and pleasant.

I also had a listen to Spektor’s older material, and realized that I did, in fact, know some of her songs. I guess I just didn’t know she sang them. “Fidelity” is probably her most famous. “Eet” and “Samson” must have been in an iTunes commercial at some point. Or maybe they played at the end of a Jason Schwartzman or Zooey Deschanel film. Who knows. But Cheap Seats is Spektor’s sixth album. How I’ve managed to know absolutely nothing about her despite her being “active” for more than a decade is confusing.

Cheap Seats is a great summer album. There’s a hipster/indie feel to it that doesn’t feel too forced and while it is definitely not the kind of stuff you hear on radio (at least not in Montreal), the album is totally accessible. It’s smart and doesn’t mock its listeners. People would really like it, if they knew to listen to it. Although it does seem like the market for this genre (somewhere between Feist, Florence and the Machine and Adele) is already saturated and Spektor is kind of just “another”, she’s also kind of different.

It’s a fun album and at 11 tracks, it’s a perfect soundtrack for a short summer walk, or spending mornings in bed, or evening drives.

Rating: B+

Trial tracks: “How,” “Dont Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)”

By Chris Hanna

Follow me on twitter @Chris_Hanna

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