It’s good to be Ximena SariÃ±ana. An accomplished television and film actress in her native Mexico as well as a platinum-selling Spanish-language recording artist, SariÃ±ana has already met a lot of success at the young age of 25. This summer sees the release of the self-titled Ximena SariÃ±ana, her English-language debut album.
SariÃ±ana’s crossover is aided by help from Lily Allen producer Greg Kurstin and TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, who add a glossy shine to the songs, all written or co-written by the singer. Different is an Allen-esque pop piece full of whistled melodies, peppy horns, bouncy digital effects, and a slick production. Shine Down has SariÃ±ana singing over a thick bottom layer of distorted synth and guitar. These are great pop numbers, but it’s the variety on display throughout the album that shows SariÃ±ana has more in common with an artist like Kate Bush than with Katy Perry.
The electropop-tinged Echo Parkcould be filed among other current indie electro acts such as Ladytron and Goldfrapp. SariÃ±ana later shows off her pipes in Bringing Us Down and Tomorrow (her voice has been compared to Chan Marshall’s this is where you’ll hear it), and then channels her inner Minogue in the dance-hall pop track The Bid. She reverts to her native tongue for the delicate Tu Y Yo, where she collaborates with her paramour, the Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. SariÃ±ana’s range across this disc is impressive, and it’s admirable that she chose to explore it on her crossover debut, rather than gunning purely for potential radio single material.
SariÃ±ana has an excellent voice, and Ximena SariÃ±ana shows she’s also a gifted young songwriter regardless of language. She’s an artist who lives up to all the fanfare she’s received at home, and one worthy of your international attention.