In recent times at least, female singer-songwriters have a tendency to tread towards the relatively safe roads of earnest rock. Elaine Lachica's approach is refreshingly non-conformist and this debut effort simply refuses to be pigeonholed. Recalling variously Kate Bush (bizarre lyrical manner, off-the-wall song structure and vocal technique, especially on 'Be That Day') and Cocteau Twins' Liz Frazer for her impressive vocal range. The song arrangements consist predominantly of piano (Tori Amos without the kookiness) and a production that suggests she is singing in a cavernous, oceanic world. In that respect '9' closely resembles the Cocteau Twins' collaboration with Harold Budd, further evidence of Lachica's classical influences. The main criticism would be that songs aren't gripping enough as if she has yet to perfect the formula achieved by her influences but there's enough ammunition here to suggest she is well on the way to writing more addictive music.