Anjulie Charms, Plays The Fox


It’s sheer pleasure to encounter a debut as delightfully fresh as Anjulie’s. There’s nothing musty or fussy about the retro-soul/R&B stylings of the self-titled Hear Music disc by the Los Angeles-based, Oaksville, Ontario-bred daughter of Guyana immigrants. This is the type of music that gently grooves with the throwback soul of Duffy and Adele -- and despite her pouty, morning-after poses of late, little of the bad-girl drama of Amy Winehouse. Anjulie opens for Oakland-native hometown hero Raphael Saadiq at Fox Theater Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Tunes like “I Want the World to Know” sport arrangements that possess the twirl-around, blue-skies bounce of the Motown’s Funk Brothers. Anjulie’s girlish soprano -- more Tammi Terrell than Diana Ross -- sails above the rest, as sparkling sweet and girlish as an ingenue on the loose and in love in the City of Light. On the more meta side of the spectrum, “Some Dumb Girl” and “Love Songs” caress touchstones embedded in the ‘80s Brit-based soul revival sparked by such performers as Sade and Everything But the Girl.

Assisted by longtime collaborator Jon Levine, Anjulie has dreamed up some potential pop hits as well: the sultry “Boom” seductively bumps with Latin beats -- it’s a number that wouldn’t be out of place on a Britney Spears disc -- while “Rain” could be the easygoing trip-hop rejoinder to Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” especially when Anjulie puts a cunning, stuttery spin on “You la-la-la-love me.” Such strong, compulsively listenable songs push Anjulie to the top of her class.   

Anjulie performs Wednesday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m., at Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph, Oakland. Raphael Saadiq headlines. $39.50. (415) 421-8497.

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