Regina Spektor's sixth outing, the predictably unpredictableWhat We Saw from the Cheap Seats, feels a little like aWes Andersonmovie. By now, you're either on board with the Russian-American's unique blend of East Village anti-folk and immaculately detailed thespian indie pop, or you've swapped her wares for the more accessible quirkiness ofFun.or the lunchroom loner art pop ofSt. Vincent. Like Anderson,Spektoris a gifted world builder, and one ofCheap Seats' greatest strengths is its prep school confidence. Utterly disparate tracks like "Oh Marcello," which utilizes the tried and true hitmaking equation of a fake Italian accent, beatboxing, and the chorus fromthe Animals' “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” and the gorgeous "Firewood," an artful and winningly austere ode to life and death that brings to mind vintageRandy Newman, are both given equal attention, and the weighty "Ballad of a Politician," despite its call to "Shake your ass out in that street," feels timely and deeply rooted in that blurry line between youthful indiscretion and civic stewardship. Still, it's a wild ride, andSpektor, despite her immaculate execution, can be a bit much, especially when it comes to vocal mannerisms (thinkTori AmosandNellie Mckayin an affectation-off), but much like the works of the aforementionedAnderson, What We Saw from the Cheap Seatssucceeds more often than it frustrates.
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