Nearly twenty years into a highly successful career, New Zealand singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Bic Runga is in a reflective mood. Conscious of the amount of songs she always wanted to cover, her latest album ‘Close Your Eyes’ is a collection of tracks which Runga tasked herself with reimagining, as well as two original compositions.
Some of her interpretations are hardly challenging or eye-opening though. They’re often just slightly stripped back versions of the original, adding little that would help the listener see these tracks in a new light. Runga even tackles ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ and, while its jazzy spin is undoubtedly pretty, it lacks Roberta Flack’s raw emotional power. It’s only really her 90s R&B take on Kanye West’s ‘Wolves’ and the languid echoes she lends to The Beach Boys’ ‘The Lonely Sea’ that really stand out as being vividly imaginative. ‘Close Your Eyes’ invites you to do just that; sit back, relax, and just let the whole thing wash over you.