Sophie Zelmani

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 February, 2007, 12:00am


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Sophie Zelmani

Memory Loves You

(Sony BMG)

She might hail from the suburbs of Stockholm, but Sophie Zelmani's soul lies in Nashville, Tennessee.

The story goes that Zelmani had had no musical training - and had never performed in public - when her purring vocals first came to notice, thanks to a self-titled debut album in 1995. Her father bought her a guitar, she tinkered, a demo tape was sent to Sony - and that was all it took for her obvious talent to be harnessed.

She has managed to keep recording during the past decade, despite a chronic shyness that still means public appearances are rare.

And it has helped her cause no end that Sony soon lined her up with a backing band. For this, Zelmani's sixth release, they give more depth to the wispy tunes than ever before.

There are echoes of Anita Lane on the soulful opening, Wait for Cry, and for the most part - like Lane - Zelmani fixes her focus on lamentations about the trials and tribulations of love and loss.

It's a bittersweet affair that floats gently by, allowing little time to linger on the motivation behind the likes of Sorrow ('Every time you're not there/ I'm losing my life/ Now I don't care'). Which is probably a good thing.

Thankfully, it's that haunting, beautiful voice that lifts everything high above the mundane - or the too mournful. And, when given the chance, Zelmani can rock a little too.

The standout, Travelling, allows

her to roll along country music's winding road with the engine at full throttle. There will be hard times, she warns her lover, but don't worry because in the end there's always a modicum of hope.