Excellence Level: Achieved
Anna Calvi is an entity unto herself. You may have heard the PJ Harvey and Nick Cave comparisons, and while she should rightfully be compared to such acts since she’s just as innovative, her sound is hers and hers alone. If you’ve ever seen her perform live, it may have been quite a surprise: a well-dressed, dainty English woman with her hair in a sophisticated, tight bun, who may occasionally utter a shy “thank you” in between songs. Not at all the image you think of when you hear her booming voice and badass guitar licks. After releasing a successful debut album, Calvi has released One Breath, an autobiographical album addressing the onset of change.
Calvi’s guitar takes a backseat on One Breath in comparison to her debut, giving the album a much lighter feel. Instead, a wider array of sounds and instruments appear. “Sing To Me” is, simply put, a beautiful song and possibly the best on the album. “One Breath” features a delightful orchestral, instrumental slot during the second half of the song. And “Piece By Piece” provides an interesting arrangement of electronic sounds not heard often on Anna Calvi tracks.
Calvi’s voice is the obvious highlight, which some may find funny since she didn’t begin singing until her mid-20s. Her range is incredible: she goes from a sweet and soft high pitch on “Piece By Piece,” to somber and dark on “Bleed Into Me,” to fierce and loud on “Love Of My Life.” She closes with “The Bridge,” a short hymnal track featuring no guitar at all.
While Calvi’s electric guitar is dearly missed, One Breath provides another side of Anna Calvi to love. It’s dreamy, creative, dramatic, and mature. This lady is, without a doubt, a true artist.