Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi (Domino Records)

February 8, 2011 by  

Anna Calvi’s name has been batted around the music press for a good few weeks now; she is one of this year’s most promising artists according to the BBC Sound of 2011 listing and has been championed by none other than Brian Eno.

These early accolades are more than well deserved, as this is the most groundbreaking debut I’ve heard from a female artist breaking into the popular music market in a long time. But my fear is that all the attention she is getting now, will be diminished by the hype that another BBC Sound of 2011 artist is receiving, namely Jessie J. As good as Jessie J might be, she is not breaking any new grounds with her sound and is not half as interesting as our Anna.

This is an atmospheric, prolific, dark record but not depressing it’s uplifting. It’s definitely a grower but when it gets in, you’re hooked. The soundscapes that immerge immerse you into another world, Anna’s world we presume, all of it organic no fakery here, old school instrumentation, no electronica (thank god!) ‘Oh have I missed records like this!

It opens with instrumental Rider to the Sea an intro worthy of an Ivor Novello in itself, all albums should open like this. Haunting guitars, crashing symbols and tantalizing, distant vocals and that’s just the intro (what a tease!). It then proceeds into No More Words where she plays the seductress, a role she inhabits very well, begging her lover to hold her down and close, feeling his warmth and him by her side. She then dominates with Desire heavy rock beat, roaring vocals she is beastly with desire. I feel like a schizo listening to her, the range of emotion she evokes is unprecedented. I could gush about this album for another 2000 words but my editor would never let you read it, we like them short and sweet at Addict.

The obvious comparisons to PJ Harvey are warranted but don’t be tempted to box her in, the similarities are there but Anna is in a league of her own, PJ Harvey is punky where Anna is classic, PJ is trashy where Anna is classy.

I can’t fault this record, it’s a perfect debut. Anna as single handily sucker punched the rest of this year’s competition and it’s only January. More like this please, enough of the Gaga parade!

[rating:5]


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