ONCE YOU GET beyond the New Age album title -- "The Voice, the Flood, and the Turtle" -- and a couple of glaring miscues, the local rock quartet Rest Area stands a good chance of winning you over with a series of clever and cleverly arranged songs that capitalize on Rachel-Ann Cross's siren-ish soprano and some sweet, quirky harmonies.
The band's ties to Laurie Anderson and her artsy ilk couldn't be more obvious on the giggly "Los Libros," but elsewhere the connection isn't so strong that it obscures the group's individuality. A cover version of the Stories' "Brother Louie," for example, is as fingerpoppingly cool as it is distinctive, and when the band looks deeper into the past for inspiration on the hippie anthem "When Peace Comes Raining Down" or the largely a cappella "Stars in His Eyes," the results are also far more engaging than derivative.
Besides Cross's piquant and pliable voice, the group boasts three musicians -- bassist Henry Cross, keyboardist Terre Jenkins and percussionist Jaqui MacMillan -- who are chiefly responsible for the album's appealing world-beat colors, textures and rhythms.
REST AREA -- "The Voice, the Flood, and the Turtle" (Awiyama). Appearing Friday at the Market 5 Gallery, Eastern Market, Seventh Street and North Carolina Avenue SE. Call 202/543-7293.