As far back as her days with 10,000 Manaics, Natalie Merchant sought a more catholic (note the small "c") approach to her writing. But within the confines of her alt-rock star persona, these gestures tended to come off as awkward.
(You can’t convince me "Jealousy" is a convincing soul performance.)
But on her first album in seven years, Merchant finally does what she should have to achieve that more eclectic sound — ditch rock entirely.
Leave Your Sleep is a sprawling collection of poems set to Merchant’s music, which veers from reggae to klezmer to Celtic music and beyond. Employing more than 100 musicians, Merchant lets the needs of the verses dictate the direction of the music, not the other way around.