Anna Calvi – One Breath review

Anna Calvi returns with her follow up to her 2011 debut with One Breath. She made quite a positive impact with her debut which put a classical understanding and methodology into guitar music and her baritone vocals. On top of this the passionate and suggestive lyrics which were reflected in her live performances are also a feature as its done in such a tasteful and stylish way. It also has a dark atmosphere to it as well which gives it another dimension. Her physical style also has many fashionista’s talking about and enjoying her music as well as that of her style of music. The question is also that of whether she can develop on her distinct sound.

‘Eliza’ features a heavy and steady bass line with the rhythm guitar dancing around it while she uses her vocal with little effort to still create the powerful and dramatic feel to the song. Compared to the last album, the song seems a little less dark due to a touch more rhythm and lyrics that are more in admiration of someone rather than longing for someone or something. However they still maintain those dark atmospheric qualities because of her open ended and powerful vocal but those subtle differences from her debut make it a solid song. ‘Sing To Me’ is highly considered and a slow alluring song that takes on such a gradual build up of sound that has a simple bass line as its foundation and a muted riff soon joins in but its purely focused on Anna’s vocal performance which she naturally delivers with such a breath-taking and whirring fashion. There is a more rapid step up with the introduction of percussion and strings in a more grand way which matches her vocals perfectly as she increases her power too. It still has the general qualities of what are known to be hers but the instrumentals featured in such a different fashion. Its another song in which she utilises the classical influence well.

‘Suddenly’ has the audible plucking of the guitars in simplistic riffs and ones that allow for the a greater and more complex chord progression to stem from it. As well as this the bass joins in to ramp up the soundscape and the rise and fall of the soundscapes create a real immediate and striking song. Her vocals on the chorus are spaced out while the drums are echoed so its not block like but slightly washed out which gives the song a fluctuating depth to it. The title track is different instrumentally due to the fading synths that are paired with the simple bass lines and allows her vocal to rise above it with ease. Others such as ‘Tristan’ are pure soundscape and atmospheric indulgences that see her go from unconventional to more conventional strong structures and the album as a whole is perhaps a lot different in less obvious places. Only subtle instrumental alterations and some in terms of structure and techniques. On top of that her playing and her vocal has been refined as well so the album is generally an improvement on her debut. A beyond solid effort.

Anna Calvi – One Breath = 8.5/10

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