Slow, soulful and sultry are the adjectives that best describe Lebanese singer Nadine Khouri's voice.
Her quietly assured debut album on her own label is produced by John Parish, a fact that may invite comparisons with PJ Harvey but the two singers are quite different.
Rather than drawing upon rock and blues traditions, Khouri's songs have more in common with folk roots, albeit with a subtle Mediterranean twist. Khouri was born in Beirut but moved to London in aged 7 when her family fled the civil war.
Recorded live in the studio, the simple backing - harmonium, piano, acoustic and electric guitar - allow the songs to breathe and flow.
It begins boldly on Thru You I Awaken with just the voice until a hypnotic backing of a harmonium drone adds to the air of sparseness and mystery.
Khouri's English lyrics are poetic and impressionistic conjuring up imagery of the four elements and, in a song like Broken Star, evoking the fragility of life and beauty. The title track, complete with male chorus, is particularly haunting and effective.
The only remotely upbeat song is Shake It Like A Shaman a quirky tribute to Jeff Buckley featuring tribal rhythms.
This brief and unexpected change of tempo seems out of place but, fortunately, doesn't detract from this stunning and atmospheric record.
Nadine Khouri's website