Any notions of Katie Melua being a calculated Norah Jones knockoff fly out the window within seconds of listening to the jazzy chanteuse's wispy, sultry voice on her debut CALL OFF THE SEARCH. Like her idol, the late Eva Cassidy, in tribute to whom Melua penned the fetching "Faraway Voice," the young singer is clearly one of those fortunate souls who feels music in every fiber of their being.
It's somewhat surprising to note that the songs, which have the feel of Gramophone antiquity, were actually written by the singer herself or her mentor Mike Batt. Mixed in with the originals are some truly lovely covers including a heart-wrenching rendition of Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" and a soulful version of John Mayall's "Crawling Up a Hill." Melua's vocals lie somewhere between the introverted pop quiver of Sarah McLachlan and the debauched croon of Billie Holiday, an otherworldly and appealing voice that makes CALL OFF THE SEARCH an intriguing first outing.