[My Gang] Anna Calvi - Blackout : Reco of the Week 26 Apr 11


26 Abr 2011, 14:37

Track: Blackout [Soundcloud]
Artist: Anna Calvi
Album: Anna Calvi (17 January 2011, Domino Records)
[ We7 | Spotify | mflow ]
Tags: , , ,
Video: Click the pic...

YouTube, official video

I've wanted to write about Anna Calvi since the beginning of January but had to wait; the only place her debut album was streaming was on the Guardian website and there were no videos yet.

Since then, Anna Calvi has appeared on Later...with Jools Holland, the album is widely available online and there's a shiny new video for this week's recommendation, Blackout.

Like the rest of the album, Blackout is all high drama, melodrama, passion and overblown sound. Here is a female vocalist writing romantic songs that comfortably compete with stadium rock artists such as Muse. Favourably compared with Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, the music is built on solid foundations; it is exquisite and detailed, both intimate and ranging, creating a sound that carries and sparkles as it goes.

Then her voice, operatic, intense and powerful. Calvi allows her voice to stand on its own and doesn't try to embellish it with ornamentation. The raw power of her vocals delivered straight and the surreal David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti music together form an atmosphere of mystery and darkness at once disturbing and captivating, seducing the listener so nothing else matters.

Blackout begins with an ethereal shimmer before the curtain goes up and the song bolts ahead. The beat sets a relentless, galloping pace as Calvi's vocals are allowed free rein. It's so atypical of contemporary pop, it holds you in its thrall throughout, leaving you a little spent come the end, itself as abrupt as the beginning.

The video is very simple, focusing on Calvi and dazzling with glitter and lights. It serves not to detract from the song so you stay with it.

When the album first appeared online on the Guardian website, I played it on repeat. I was taken by her voice, at times just a whisper and others, pure power, trembling as she controls it, the virtuoso guitar and nods to Ennio Morricone, flamenco, blues rock and classical. I found the sinister, menacing tones appealing and what impressed me most was the consistent theatricality that she maintains throughout, changing its shape and colour with every song. There is depth and intensity contrasted against light that comes from shimmers and relief after tension in the music is released. Themes are of love, lust and devils as she broods on fears and longings.

Overriding everything is its sheer beauty. It's in your face with filigree and shadow. The album doesn't make for a light listen and I left it alone for a while, but I'm going to see her in concert tomorrow, hence the revisit and my choice for this week.

Further reading:

BBC review
The Quietus review
Pitchfork review
The Line Of Best Fit - interview with Anna Calvi
The Line Of Best Fit review


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Admin: Stats as of today:

Last.fm listeners of this track - 13,793
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 45,101
Position in Last 7 Days: 1 / 1,372
Position in Last 6 Months: 6 / 5,960

Date Added: Mar 15, 2011
Views: 61,079, Comments: 36, Likes: 402, Dislikes: 10, Ratings: 412, Favorites: 517

Stats after 7 days:

Last.fm listeners of this track - 14,273
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 47,394
Position in Last 7 Days: 1 / 1,372
Position in Last 6 Months: 1 / 10,591

Views: 71,189, Comments: 41, Likes: 443, Dislikes: 12, Ratings: 455, Favorites: 586

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  • rwitte

    Smashing read. You seem to be zooming away from your subject matter; the focus is on the artist, not the track. I have to agree that her voice is rather special. They are good songs, too, with sultry melody and lyrics. However, I did the arrangements a bit pedestrian. Thank you.

    27 Abr 2011, 12:27
  • Babs_05

    Yes, I kind of focused more on her and the album as a whole. Thanks as always, rwitte. :)

    27 Abr 2011, 13:20
  • rwitte

    Babs, I was just at the group and noticed that this wasn't submitted there.

    30 Abr 2011, 10:49
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