Michelle Kleinsak
June 11, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

On Happenstance, her full-length debut, this 26-year-old singer-song-writer oozes end-of-the-affair resignation, sketching tales of failed romance over a mix of piano-based pop, blues, and even cabaret. Yamagata’s drowsy delivery, journal-entry lyrics, and slinky rhythms will inevitably draw comparisons to Beth Orton and Fiona Apple. And rightly so: With standouts like ”Worn Me Down,” which deftly details her exasperation with an unrequited crush, she proves she can hold her own with the best of the distressed songstresses.

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