Is it her voice or the music? Singer Kelli Scarr creates a hauntingly beautiful sound on her new album, Piece. The arrangements are often introspective interludes, soaked in echo, that create a delicious mood. She's gotten exposure, touring with (and opening for) Moby, but this album reflects more of her experience creating soundtrack music.
Salt to the Sea opens the album, with her lush voice initially evoking Karen Carpenter, then sounding more like Julie Cruise. It's a mellow, yet rich song. The arrangement is masterful, from the simple piano and stereo guitar strum at the start to the filling in sound of string swells, light percussion, and a slowly rocking bassline. Each instrument contributes its part to the greater whole, creating a balanced dynamic to carry the song. The album version on her MySpace page is a better place to hear this than any of the live versions.
On Anything, Scarr takes an indie folk approach, with a pop layer underneath. It's hypnotically soulful. The harmonies are sweet and wistful as the echoed parts add a dreamy quality. The song ends with tatters of sound circling the initial piano.
Throughout Piece, Scarr imbues her simple songs with depth: from the wistful Brother to the achy and vulnerable Break Up. The heavy reverb gives her music a retro sense that comes to feel timeless. It's her voice and the music together that create an ethereal beauty. A rich burgundy wine would complete the mood.