Lights, "The Listening"

77 Billboard Rating

Canadian singer Valerie Poxleitner looks like a pop star and writes songs like a pop star, but her name didn't make her sound like much of a pop star. A quick change to the snappier moniker Lights, though, and she's ready to actually be a pop star, at least as evidenced by her major-label debut, "The Listening." Building on a well-received EP and some low-budget, space-age videos, the new album comes on like a more accessible version of the current buzz-worthy wave of U.K. electronic artists including Little Boots and La Roux. Exuberant vocoder vocals pepper the album, most notably on the current single "Savior," which is reminiscent of the U.K. act Saint Etienne. Most tracks on the set are irresistibly catchy, from the "I tried to do you right" refrain of "Ice" to the danced-up beats of "Loins!" The singer's early Canadian radio hits-"Drive My Soul" and "February Air"-also appear on the album, along with the gorgeous ballad "Pretend," which is presented in both frosty electronic and warm piano versions. --Mark Sutherland

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