Review Summary: Relax, take it easy.
It sure has been an easy trip for singer/songwriter/guitarist Anna Calvi leading up to the release of her debut album. She got labeled as one of the most promising artists of 2011 by the BBC, and she got to open up for Nick Cave's Grinderman. This must definitely mean that she possesses some kind of talent, and that talent is her amazing voice. But she also possesses another, more hidden talent, the talent to create amazing songs, and to keep them interesting and varied. As you may have deduced from the cover, Anna Calvi is not an ordinary girl. The styles she successfully blends together on this album range from straight-up stadium rock to country tunes, with a delightful topping of blues. This of course makes it hard to describe her music with a genre, but it is certainly not 'flamenco' like myspace falsely reports. You can call it rock, if you will.
Anna Calvi's vocal capabilities remind of a certain other strong female vocalist namely Florence Welsh, and while her voice sounds different, she bears with her the same kind of girlish charm that miss Welsh possesses. Whatever the case, it is truly her gentle, but also very 'powerful in its own kind of way' voice that pushes the songs to a next level. Lyrically, Anna Calvi
is strong, with the various lyrical themes fitting in with the general atmospheres of the songs. That said, the band is doing its job of creating a relaxing, dreamy and occasionally powerful atmosphere very well, but they are overshadowed by miss Calvi's powerful vocals. This isn't such a big problem because in the end they all fit together just nicely.
When talking about song structure, it must be noted that there is an awful lot of variety present here, in the form of various genres being blended together as I mentioned before. A fine example of that is the song 'I'll Be Your Man' which is driven by a western-like guitar strumming, as if you were in an old school western with a dead silence at the beginning, but with a strong build-up. The song really starts to shine when Anna Calvi's sudden vocal outburst lights up the entire scene in an almost theatrical fashion. Another great example of the amazing songwriting is the excellent rocker 'Suzanne And I', which is probably the pinnacle of Calvi's impressive vocal ability, and also showcases her pretty expansive vocal reach.
At any rate, Anna Calvi
is a delightful, refreshing and most of all relaxing debut from a talented artist who might just be surprising us some more in the near future. Sit back, grab a drink and enjoy.