January 10, 2007

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Sia, Some People Have Real Problems
Hear Music Records, Jan. 8
If Zero 7 is your choice of quasi-electro chill, Aussie chanteuse Sia Furler’s sort of an old homie. Her last sounding was on the 2006 Zero 7 album The Garden, where she was assigned a few knuckleball tunes, though none that come close to revealing her more barmy (and original) side; the Z7 dudes tend to use her as a Stevie Nicks/R&B diva-bot widget, which is in the end toward their collective detriment, a little. Certainly her strength is makeout music for people taken in by the Zach Braff school of modern ennui — a little acid jazz, ’70s fluff, any laid-backness one might associate with lukewarm lust in the urban jungle — and she makes use of it, in spades, with several hit-worthy songs on Some People, notably “Little Black Sandals,” its title telegraphing the punch of its Gabrielle-like prettiness (yep, it could have been the flip-side to “Dreams”). Furler is quite adept with scatting, though; lead single “Day Too Soon,” full of ’70s mystique and splashy drums, shows that she’s been digging on Amy Winehouse’s throatiness and nu-big-band chic. A — E. W. S.