This recording by Azita Youssefi, of Chicago's no wave leaders the Scissor Girls and Bride of No No, is a surprising and rich batch of nearly traditional, jazzy piano ballads. That is, if you get past the vocals. Youssefi's deep, warbling words have an occasional tunelessness that is much the asset in her more punk rock pursuits, but an uncomfortable challenge in a stripped-down environment. On tracks like "Reopening," her long, breaking lyrics become one with Rob Mazurek's cornet, a beautiful trick that sets her voice as an instrument in flux, not content with the pretty package of traditional singer/songwriter delivery. The all-star pickup band of guitarist Jeff Parker and John McEntire (Tortoise) and Matt Lux on bass adds a touch of Plush or other '70s-inflected arrangements -- all long, bouncing basslines and pleasantly passé fills, as on opener "Better End in Time." Youssefi's remarkable piano skills are overwhelming and refreshing -- leading and melodic but with a touch of chromaticism and dissonance that speaks to her no wave legacy and breadth of artistic vision.