A voice made for lullabies

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 March, 2009, 12:00am

If there is such a thing as a grown-up's lullaby, Rachael Yamagata's is the ideal voice to soothe you to sleep. Her lyrics are almost hummed, with a whispered softness that lulls. Long instrumental passages add to the silkiness.

Yamagata is an American singer-songwriter and pianist of fourth-generation Japanese-American descent on her father's side and Italian-German ancestry on her mother's. This multicultural background filters through to her music - an indie blend of jazz, rock, ethnic and new age. Her songs have featured on several films and TV shows, including ER, One Tree Hill, Brothers & Sisters and The O.C.

Her most recent album Elephants ... Teeth Sinking into Heart is divided into two CDs. The first is a moody affair. From its opening track Elephants we are plunged into a mystical world with goosebump-inducing lyrics and brooding chords. It culminates in Duet, with Ray Lamontagne, which digs up the deepest, darkest human emotions.

The second disc is slightly lighter and each track has a different style. Yamagata proves she has a strong creative talent.

This is no easy listening collection; it's a pretty intense experience. But if you're willing to sink your teeth into it, the husky vocals will enchant you.