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Annie Crane's gentle acoustic tunes call up Nick Drake comparisons

My perception of music is inextricably tied to seasons. I can’t hear Bon Iver’s self-titled without at least pining for a “good winter,” and MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular is quintessential summer listening. The fall listening is dominated by the heartbreakingly gorgeous Nick Drake album Pink Moon.

Annie Crane‘s Jump With a Child’s Heart is also fall listening, not in small part because the delicate acoustic constructions owe a structural debt to Drake. At her best, Crane produces gently rolling songs of peace and quiet wonder from her guitar. The tasteful strings (“You & Me & The Evergreen,” “Copenhagen Heart”) only draw more comparisons.

Her lilting, Celtic-inspired voice is prone to soaring. It’s quite beautiful, and she knows it: when she tosses off words quickly and casually during “Salinger Said,” the variation is so surprising and welcome that the tune becomes a highlight of the album. Crane also adds some force to her delivery in the exciting, vaguely sinister “Lookin’ Out.” There’s nothing wrong with having a gorgeous set of pipes, but using them the same way the whole album makes for a charming beginning and a tedious middle.

Crane does mix up her arrangements, however: Background vocals, steel guitar, stand-up bass, trumpet, sparse percussion and even some clapping on “Money Only Hates Me” spice up the tunes.

Jump With a Child’s Heart has a gentle walking pace to it, only enhancing my desire to stroll down a path shaded by trees with leaves turning while playing the album. This is a very good album: Annie Crane has clearly established a recognizable modus operandi. In the future she will need to introduce people to other sides of her (and her voice) while retaining that clarity of mood and construction which makes her best music so engaging. The album drops October 4.