Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi

I like to think that my listening habits include female artists regularly. It's no secret that female artists don't feature as much within the current music scene. I'm talking female musicians, not just singers, we have plenty of those provided by TV shows and executives from the music industry. Anna Calvi is a skilled violinist, she has been taught music theory and understands orchestral pieces as a musical ideology.

Comparisons with PJ Harvey and Siouxie Sioux are moderately accurate. Her vocal style definitely would suit Post-Punk, her voice being both powerful and full of emotion. This style of music is very dark, it's very empty and sad, yet beautiful, even if the songs sound similar and repetitive. One name i can throw at you is Jeff Buckley. This is like a female take on Grace, the guitar playing and structure is very similar to Buckley's. I wouldn't compare the two artists individually, both having very separate inspirations for their work. It's hard to stick a label on this music, various websites and magazines have dubbed her as an Indie Rock artist, this is what Arctic Monkeys are labelled as.. I don't even want to call this Rock.

The opening track is just a basic guitar track with no little other instruments featuring. You can hear some shimmering atmosphere gradually increasing as the track has a little kick of sound. It's very faint, it gives the track an eerie atmosphere, as a cymbal is heard. Eventually using her voice as an instrument to great effect, which draws the track to a close. It's nothing special musically, it just sets the atmopshere. It's not very memorable, being dark and gloomy being the main features.

Parts of this album excite me, like with Desire. A lovely song with strong vocals and personal stylistic lyrics which does give the song a boost over the other songs. It's strong, with a clear incentive on being the lead single, which it is. Suzanne and I is just as strong.. It features a loud drum bear being the base for the song, with shimmering guitars played along side each other. The lack of bass is hardly noticeable. The percussion picks up and so does the vocals which sounds extremely raw in comparison to other female artists of today.

Some songs don't relate to me at all. I'll Be Your Man is empty and quiet, it has some good guitar work, but the song is incredibly predictable, nothing grabs my attention here. Morning Light has the same effect on me, being incredibly vague sounding. The vocals are a mess, but her voice works as the instrument. The guitar work is very plain, nothing exciting and it has a dull sound.

The second track, No More Words, leads straight from the opening guitar piece. This track is atmospheric to an extent, having a bigger emphasis on structure than the other songs on the album. It was an early favourite for me, but Desire really makes this album. The Devil & Blackout are two of the stronger tracks. Blackout is especially different in style, having a faster pace and a clearer child like vocal, rather than the dark low pitched vocals. The Devil reminded me of several Jeff Buckley songs, the quiet, yet powerful vocals suit well with the simple sounding reverbed electric guitar.

Other than Desire, The Devil and Blackout, listeners may be reluctant to explore the album further. I'm afraid that she wont improve in style, since she received a Mercury Prize nomination. I think she needs to focus on giving her music a bigger, fuller sound. I understand that this is her music, her influences are obviously showing through.. But without improvements in sound, her fame and bank balance wont improve drastically, which I believe is her true goal here. I have seen her play live, it wasn't the most exciting or gripping performance I've seen, but it has something.. Something that she can grow on as an artist.


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