Semi-stranded in the Czech Republic in April 2002, I found succor in Canadian crooner Diana Krall's The Look of Love, an easy-riding pop-jazz confection that feels like a million bucks when you're staring down your third meal of conspicuously vegetable-free goulash a fellow traveler more accurately dubbed "oil soup." Pre-Norah Jones, Krall nailed the sound of consenting adults luxuriating in a privileged mental space of svelte sophistication--quite attractive, I admit, compared with one more night on the hardwood floor of an unheated squat. Krall's new album, The Girl in the Other Room, nails something else: her and new husband Elvis Costello's attempts to make music perfect for entertaining in their New York apartment. (An acquaintance painted it, and says it's huge. True!) As such, it's kind of a snooze. Half of Room's 12 tunes are Krall-Costello co-writes, including one called "Abandoned Masquerade" that I won't quote out of respect for, well, lyrics as a concept; the title track is better because Anthony Wilson's guitar shimmers like chardonnay. But even the good stuff here lacks Love's breezy sensuality, the seductive sheen that made me miss the shit out of Banana Republic two years ago. Looks like Costello made off with more than Krall's party dress.
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