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It is over two decades since Loene Carmen walked onto the screen in The Year My Voice Broke and subsequently broke every teenage boys heart. Now seen more frequently on the music stage than the big screen, Carmen is no less beguiling for the change. Her fourth album It Walks Like Love solidifies her growing reputation, as she quietly picks up musical admirers one by one. Her voice as always draws comparisons to Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, those hushed, sexy and seductive tones – part sung part whispered in your ear. But unlike Hope, Loene isn’t afraid to let her band loose; with band regulars Sam Worrad, Brock Fitzgerald and Sam Pearton augmented by an impressive cast of helpers including family members Peter Head and Holly Sidewinder, Mess Hall’s Jed Kurzel and smokin’ Tex Perkins. Down and dirty, smouldering blues is the territory Ms Carmen is most at home with, and this album features plenty – be it the restrained opener Rugged Love and Thin Air or the glorious release on Flames vs Lightening. What differs on It Walks Like Love is that Carmen has a couple of killer pop singles in Oh Apollo! (where she shares the vocals with Kurzel) and the foot tapper Mimic the Rain. Add some subtle piano touches courtesy of Head and this is definitely Carmen’s best work to date.

*** 1/2