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Rachael Cantu

Run All Night

Q Division

Rachael Cantu is what I imagine Cat Power would sound like if she'd started writing music today instead of the early '90s. That mournful, defeated croon presents itself right from the start; on "Hear My Laughter," Cantu alternates between a whisper and a more forceful lament. Backing her up is the steady strum of an acoustic guitar, an organ and sparse percussion. It's a very crystalline and ominous sound, which continues in intervals throughout the album and culminates with the title track, a bittersweet plea for companionship. This methodical slow-core being her strong suit, it's surprising to find an absolute killer pop song on here. "Saturday" is full-fledged, FM-ready alterna-pop like Avril Lavigne was dishing out a few years back. Cantu's take on this sound is decidedly more appealing thanks to its lack of polish. There are no anemic verses or cloying lyrics, just electric guitar and a driving rhythm section to pilot Cantu through nostalgia for a past romance. With Run All Night, Rachael Cantu has positioned herself to be part of the next wave of female rockstars and from the sound of it, popular music's going to be in very good hands.

Q Division Records: www.qdivision.com