Anna Calvi ~ Anna Calvi

Label: Domino Records


If the thrashing, heavy romance of the deliciously windswept ‘Desire’ is anything to go by, the tipping of critical winks in the direction of Patti Smith may be something of a misnomer, building as it does more upon the sweeping panorama and open heart surgery of Australian rock-act The Triffids and the pernicious murder balladry of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It’s a big sound made with big ideas performed on big instruments and accompanied by big drums and big voices – a wave of energy might describe it better.

On ‘First Kiss’ a gentle and slightly disembodied tremolo guitar brushes against a signature Spector kick-beat before swelling into a rapturous, overwhelming chorus, but whereas the elegant yet slightly malnourished Last Shadow Puppets built their tumultuous empire with mighty orchestral arrangements and all manner of post-production editing, Calvi produces almost as tremendous a racket with a handful of guitars, a few crashing cymbals and having the foresight to move from the softest of sighs to the most lusty of shrieks – and then back again – in less time than it takes for the flood plains of Queensland to be overcome by water. And this is arguably the records triumph. This is why it works: the blood’s real, the sweats real, and there’s salt in dem der tears.

Even without ‘Blackout’ – clearly the most vital, stirring, spine-tingling and genuinely trouser-tickling song ever to have been released in recent years – the album would be a mighty proposition, but its inclusion here makes the record that little bit special. In fact Crud hasn’t felt this buoyed up and excited since Jeff Buckley released ‘Grace’ and Janet Jackson’s boobs spilled out at the 2004 Super Bowl. It’s femme but not fatal.

Anna Calvi. We couldn’t recommend this record anymore highly.

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Released: 14 January, 2011

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