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The world of Lady A -- British-born chanteuse Anjali Bhatia -- is a deliciously decadent dimension where Russ Meyer directs James Bond flicks on the streets of Calcutta, and orbiting spacecraft are equipped with fur-lined cocktail nooks, hot tubs, and Martin Denny LPs to facilitate swanky zero-gravity copulation.

Sprawling strings, horn blasts, spy-surf guitar, go-go/garage grooves, blunted beats... you say you've been in this neck o' the woods before? Well, yeah, the album is heavily steeped in a mix of trip-hop, acid-jazz, and lounge exotica, all wrapped around sex-kitten coos that would make Brigitte Bardot blush. But Anjali breathes new life into tired genres with her quirky incorporation of sitar, tabla, finger cymbals, and other Indian-traditional sounds. She has a flair for tight songwriting and intriguing, dynamic production -- she's not just window-dressing for a couple of paunchy studio dudes.

The mood is far from uniform: "Asian Provocateur" and the instrumentals "Turn It On!" and "Kandivali Gulley" whoosh by like exhilarating car chases through narrow alleys, while "Rainy Day" and "A Humble Girl" laze seductively on baroque-pop sofas. There's even room for the Primal Scream-like menace that grips the brilliant "Ain't No Friend."

Make sure your schedule is clear when you step into Anjali's sensual World, because you won't wanna leave anytime soon.

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Michael Alan Goldberg

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