Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Anna Calvi - Album Review

Anna CalviAnna Calvi
Domino Records
17Th January 2011

Getting home on Monday night I could hardly get the key in the lock quick enough as the package from Domino records I could see on the other side of the glass in the door would mean only one thing and that was the Anna Calvi album was finally in my grubby mitts.

Those of you that have been reading my blog will have heard about Anna Calvi on occasion as I have reviewed a few of her gigs in 2010 on the London circuit and loved what I’d heard. I now have the album, and although the songs and the atmosphere of the recordings don’t let it down at all it does sometimes feel that the total incendiary abandonment of her live gigs isn’t always captured as fully as it could have been. Although this may seem negative this may seem small potatoes and almost elitist knit picking and I suppose it is although I would stress that I find the exclusion of one of her most beautiful songs “Moulinette” relegated to the B-Side of her debut single a bit of a choker. But enough of this mindless babble lets get to the album as a whole. The songs are sparse in arrangement but full of drama and heart and by doing this elevate Anna Calvi about a clear mile about the majority of female artists out there in radio land, her guitar playing for one is truly exceptional and although the guitar playing world is very male dominated and the hardened shredders of the world will purposely make the point of not liking her because she isn’t finger tapping with her toes she is definitely no slouch in the playing department and I think is showing almost all of the boring indie strummers of the world a thing or to about tearing into a solo without ever floating over to the 80’s ability over content guitar playing side of the road.

As far as singles are concerned I’m not sure about this one. The only track I can think of that would make the desired impression on the singles market would be “Blackout” and that’s simply because of the tempo rather than definite hook, although I would say that the whole idea of “looking for the single” a moot point considering the style of the album and if I were reviewing a Miles Davis record I doubt any of the tracks would crack the indie top 10 either.

Reading back through my words so far I hope I’m not giving the impression that I don’t like this record because I have it pretty much constantly on loop on my i-Pod as the song writing and almost “Blue Velvet” David Lynch style feel about it just hypnotizes me so I almost feel like I’m wasting my time if I try and listen to another act, no this is definitely a keeper.

Other tracks on the album that leap out include the opener “Rider To The Sea” the dusk till dawn sexy “No More Words” and the show stopping “Love Won’t Be Leaving” a song that show’s Anna’s influences from operatic and classical to Hendrix and heavy blues. A lot has been said about Anna’s vocal ability mentioning such artists as Maria Callas and Nina Simone although the one other singer that I can see that comparisons could be made to would be Jeff Buckley (and she does it much better than the Matt Bellamy’s of the world who leave no room for subtly and tone) with some songs starting with an almost inaudible quiet and tenderness before ending with a crescendo of emotion.

It’s only January and it seems unfair to other acts that the debut album of 2011 may have already been found within weeks of the first month. I have seen the future for 2011 and she’s carrying a telecaster and wearing lipstick.

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