By Chris Willman
March 04, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST

Bare Bones

B
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Erstwhile standards-bearer Madeleine Peyroux has ditched oldies to co-write every track on her fourth album Bare Bones, and though some fans will wish she’d stayed in Bessie ‘n’ Billie territory, it’s interesting to hear that Victrola voice meet a more contemporary sensibility. (”Screwed like a high school cheerleader… Bust like an Internet millionaire,” she sings on the Walter Becker-co-penned ”You Can’t Do Me.”) Producer Larry Klein so worships that voice, he turns it up miles above the overly tasteful instrumentation, which could’ve stood more meat on its bones. But the smart and emotional material makes for an impressive step away from the retro ghetto. B

Download This: Listen to the song ”River of Tears” on the artist’s MySpace

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