…bloody hell, now that’s what I’m talking about.
There’s been a lot of gigs over the course of the summer, and I’ll be honest, a lot of the time it’s been great just to go and watch gigs without having to write up reviews, as the swamp of emails threatened to overwhelm me as much as I felt overwhelmed by more Edinburgh tourists than ever.
Then the new Anna Calvi album arrives, her third and her first for five years. Suddenly I remember why I fell in love with music in the first place. Even before I’ve finished listening to the album for the first time, I wonder: is this her best album? Because the first two are pretty damn good, but this is sorcery. See, after punk, for many years artists felt they had to hide their musical abilities. Calvi has a voice that absorbs opera, in her own distinctive way, and her guitar playing is virtuoso – yet neither ever feel over the top. That my friends, is some serious talent right there. Combined with the songwriting and it’s an utterly irresistible combination.
There’s scarcely a wrong move on the album – within a few notes my wife pricked up her ears and asked who it was – but the title track and ‘Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy’ which did the rounds ahead of the album are a great place to start. The videos are worth seeing too; enough to give programmers of music TV nightmares but those who believe music videos can be art will love them.
So, with this release, Ms. Calvi has reached a new level, and it’s more sensual and passionate than ever. She’s talking more freely in interviews about sexuality and gender, and that shouldn’t frighten away anyone other than those who have no place here. As Brian Eno said, when she first appeared, she was the best thing since Patti Smith, but Anna Calvi has truly arrived as Anna Calvi with this release. An essential listen that reaches in, grabs you and won’t let go…