Review

In 1998, Epic Records attempted to break Indonesian-by-way-of-France pop singer Anggun in the U.S. by releasing her debut album, Snow on the Sahara. It went unnoticed, and Epic didn't bother to release Anggun's three subsequent European albums in America. Five years on, she gets another shot stateside via this "music from the motion picture" collection from the film Open Hearts, director Susanne Bier's grainy domestic drama. Anggun serves as the mouthpiece for songwriter/producers Jesper Wing Leisner and Niels Brinck on these lightly rhythmic synth pop tunes, earning co-writing credits only on the three songs not actually heard in the film: "Open Your Heart," "The End of the Story," and "Pray." She matches the propulsive, synthesized musical tracks with breathy, emotive vocals that never lose the beat for all their dramatic appeal. Things slow down finally for the closing track, "Naked Sleep," but Anggun is actually more convincing when the tempo is faster. Fans of Everything but the Girl and Björk will find familiar sounds here, but they are not likely to be as impressed as they are with their favorites. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi

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