Despite the brightly colored cover artwork on Justine Electra's debut album, Soft Rock, her music isn't overtly kooky or flashy. Instead, with her smooth, breathy alto and acoustic guitars gliding over synths and understated electronic rhythms, she comes across as a more lighthearted cross between Cat Power and Dido, or Beth Orton with a more eccentric songwriting style. Electra's description of her sound as "laid-back electro-blues" is apt, even if it doesn't capture all of what makes her music unique. Soft Rock's songs are often mellow and melancholy, although song titles like "Fancy Robots" hint at Electra's surreal, often loopy sense of humor. She juxtaposes her music and lyrics in a number of intriguing ways over the course of the album: "Killa Lady"'s soulful sound and bitter, often disturbing lyrics are thought-provoking, but "Mom + Dad + Me + Mom" -- a tale of going back to high school with her parents -- lets her sunnier side shine through. Even the songs that sound like more traditional singer/songwriter fare, like "My Best Friend," feel pleasantly unpredictable, thanks to the loops and samples that decorate their edges. "Blues + Reds" is a standout, with a bouncy harmonica fill that gives the song an oddly weightless feel heightened by trippy lyrics like "Somebody's been growing the carpet under my feet." "Calimba Song" is also striking, a spare and evocative track that suggests a traditional African folk song played on a kalimba, but sounds utterly modern at the same time. Justine Electra excels at paradoxes: Soft Rock is a genuinely eccentric album, but it could still appeal to a wide audience precisely because it sounds so personal.