Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi (Domino)

When this album was sent to me by Middle boop HQ with the pretence that it was their album of the year so far, I knew that Anna Calvi et al. must pack quite a punch. However, as a critic, I will always have my cynical head strapped onto my shoulders and thusly approached this album with the same circumspection as I do with all albums. However, I must say that I have come to same conclusion as my peers; this album is pretty damn good indeed.

The self titled debut album commences with an incredibly atmospheric track in the form of “Rider To The Sea”. Beautiful in it’s simplicity, the single guitar sound pregnant with reverb heralds in what is to be a very moving album.

The first track segues faultlessly into “No More Words” where we are introduced to Anna’s creamy, rich and soothing vocals. Even after only a couple of syllables have been sung, I am imagining this to track is being performed in an artistic Hollywood film with Calvi waltzing around her audience in a divine dress tempting any red blooded male who crosses her path.

We get more musicality coming into the album with the track “Desire”. Furthermore, Calvi really opens up her voice and displays the vocal power and range that she possesses that fully justifies her nomination for the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2011’ poll. It also enthrals me further that Anna is a home-grown British talent. She sounds like what we have been crying out for; a female vocalist that has that ‘edge’ about her. This is something that I don’t think we have seen since the days of Blondie or Suzi Quatro.

Suzanne and I” is a very haunting number and only serves to build up that hard demeanour that we are being treated to. Anna Calvi is backed by a steady rhythm which gives her the ideal platform to unleash her vocals in a fashion that would even rival the great Kate Bush to name a few.

We go back to the beginning of the album with ‘First We Kiss’ where Calvi shows us once again that she can be soft and sultry as well as being able to seamlessly transition into her gripping alter-ego.

There is something about the song; “The Devil” that I just love. It is like the song is stepping out of the album and into the rain to contemplate life whilst holding a takeaway cup of coffee. Surreal similes aside, this is one of my favourite tracks from the album.

We are further tormented and haunted by Calvi’s rockier side with the song “Blackout”. It is very much a standout live track that will surely get you singing along at one of her shows; she is touring at the moment by the way people (hint, hint).

I’ll be Your Man” is a rather quirky number. I would describe it as a dirty blues song that clashes with a classic reggae beat. Not that it is in any way detrimental to the overall sound. It just proves that there are many strings to Miss Calvi’s bow and in “Morning Light” we are further treated to her vocals being thrust in the spotlight once more whilst the music cradles the vocals as competently as they have been doing all album long.

The album concludes with the “Love Won’t Be Leaving”. This track feels like the culmination of the ideas, styles and musicality that Anna Calvi has performed in the previous songs and these all meet in this track. I have got to say that I am more than impressed. If you though that music was stalling with creativity recently I urge you to procure this album and prove yourself wrong.

Words : Barclay Quarton

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