sat 24/08/2019

CD: Anna Calvi - Hunter | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Anna Calvi - Hunter

CD: Anna Calvi - Hunter

Huge accomplishments on Calvi's third album, but has she left room for quirks?

This album starts on a slightly odd footing, thanks to the opener “As a Man” having phrases that sound by turns a lot like Propellorheads and Shirley Bassey's “History Repeating” and Grace Jones's cover of Flash And The Pan's “Walking in the Rain”. Not that those are bad records – both are still highly playable – and it certainly sets a tone of arch assurance and cabaret sass. But being reminded so early of such entirely distinctive and out-on-their-own tracks makes it a little hard to triangulate where Calvi is coming from here.

As on previous records, there's a great degree of classicism here: large helpings of Led Zeppelin style 70s rock, 80s new wave and post-Sonic Youth 90s indie clang are all blended seamlessly, and Calvi's voice slips from Grace Jones-ish velvet snarl to gothic operatics, again without the joins showing. There are hooks galore, in fact more so than on its 2014 predecessorOne Breath which had more brooding moments: pretty much every track on Hunterslaps you around the face with its strutting riffs.

Conceptually it all holds together very tidily too. Calvi plays with androgynous rockstar archetypes, both in her performance and songs like “As a Man”, “Don't Beat the Girl out of my Boy” and “Alpha”, and it doesn't feel awkward or contrived. But throughout there's something about the levels of accomplishment in the construction of everything that makes it hard to spot the person at the heart of it. Though there's noise and intensity, there are few cracks or rough edges where any more deeply personal quirks and peculiarities can emerge. Now, I have to hedge my bets here: there's a nagging suspicion that this could be a huge “grower”, that on repeat exposure it could reveal itself to be a classic. All the elements are certainly there, and I'd be very glad to be proved wrong on this – but for now, it's a lot easier to admire than it is to love.

Calvi's voice slips from Grace Jones-ish velvet snarl to gothic operatics, without the joins showing


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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