Release Date : 17/01/2011 (Domino Records)
Permalink : http://mostlyferocious.com/2011/01/15/anna-calvi-anna-calvi
There is something of a buzz around Anna Calvi’s self titled début. BBC Music have hailed her as ‘one to watch’ for 2011 and she’s already opened for Nick Cave’s mighty Grinderman. Sounding somewhere between Natasha Khan’s kooky and PJ Harvey’s rawkus beauty, Calvi follows firmly in their footsteps. It’s not hard to see why she’s attracted so much attention.
Opener ‘Rider to the Sea’ is a beautiful mariachi guitar workout which forces you to wait. Undoubtedly, it’s foreplay for what’s to come. Cool and breezy, ‘No More Words’ starts the record with understated vocal building to guitar crescendo. From the second track Calvi has you in the palm of her hand. ‘Desire’ crashes in and shows vocally what she’s capable of. Gone are the sultry tones, giving way to a much bigger sound. Similarly with ‘Suzanne & I’, there is a powerful edge to her voice which borders on operatic proportions. Every song sounds epic. ‘First We Kiss’ is a beautiful insight into the beginning of a love affair; building and spinning into an orchestral finale, Calvi turns up the drama with every verse. ‘The Devil’ is the pivotal track of the album, recounting the opening mariachi-like guitars and sultry vocals, pushing angelic tones into a much darker place. Again, the guitar work is phenomenal and the operatics huge, without feeling overblown or out of grasp. ‘Blackout’ and ‘I’ll Be Your Man’ are probably the more commercial offerings here, combining all aspects heard thus far, while contained within a more traditional song structure – Calvi can do pop as well as drama, without dropping any of the act. ‘Morning Light’ reflects on the storm that’s gone before and brings the mood back to something less turbulent. ‘Love Won’t be Leaving’ closes the record and brims with Cave-esque murder ballad. Understated but demanding full attention.
This is a very serious and sexualised record that transports listeners to a world of dark romance and intoxicating danger. It is musically tempestuous, but always as support to Calvi’s drama and astounding vocal range. It’s a straight faced record that exists within a world of its own. Already a contender for one of the records of the year, it’s easy to see what the fuss is about.