That 70s album

Since the early 90’s, Hatakeyama Miyuki has involved herself in a lot of eclectic projects.

She started out as a singer for the 10-piece roots ensemble Double Famous, collaborated with Little Creatures, then paired up with Kojima Taisuke to form Port of Notes.

Now, Hatakeyama has struck out on her own and not a moment too soon. Like her cosmopolitan jazz-pop peer UA, Hatakeyama possesses a wonderfully resonant voice, full of longing, powerful in its vulnerability.

It’s a testament to a person’s talent when a song as overused by the advertising industry as “Dream a Little Dream of Me” can sound revelatory.

Hatakeyama’s solo debut album, Diving Into Your Mind, explores much of the same creative ground as her work in Port of Notes, except the overt alternative rock influences have been replaced with a ’70s SoCal feel.

Hatakeyama may still sound like Tracey Thorn of Everything But the Girl, but musically, she sounds closer to Carole King.

Nowhere is this more apparent than on “Kagayaku Tsuki ga Terasu Yoru”. The electric piano alone sounds like it was recorded sometime in the early ’70s.

“Ame wa Oboete Iru Deshoo” goes for a cabaret feel, much like “Ecrice” from Port of Notes’ Complain Too Much, while the Latin-tinged rhythms of “Aoi Yuunagi” could have been lifted from a Manhattan Transfer album.

Hatakeyama does let in a few post-70s influences in. “Into the Whisper” has an ethereal quality more akin to — you guessed it — Everything But the Girl, while “Nani mo Mayowazuni” contains some R.E.M.-like jangly guitars.

In a way, Hatakeyama has recorded the same kind of album Minako did with Suck it Till Your Life Ends wa Shine Made Sono Mama Yatte. Although not as overtly international, Diving Into Your Mind does explore a number of pop genres within the context of jazz, and Hatakeyama’s distinct voice ties it all together.

In short, you can’t go wrong with this one.