‘The Deserters’ (RAF Records)
If Rachel Zeffira hadn’t been accidentally deported back to her native Canada before a key performance, she would probably be an opera singer by now. Instead, there’s little trace left of her past endeavours (except in YouTube clips of Radio 3 recordings) and Zeffira is known best as one half of Cat’s Eyes. Stepping away from the ‘60s revivalism of her work with Faris Badwan, her classically trained sensibilities shine through on her first solo effort, which sparkles with understated beauty. Such luscious orchestration is a rare delight, which added to the soft, spooky nature of her voice leaves ‘The Deserters’ with a wintery chill.