Young songbird Anna Calvi has been the latest music act from England. Just starting her musical career, Calvi has received much praise from music critics for her self-titled, debut album released in 2010. The past couple of years have brought the songstress many awards and admirers, including Coral guitarist, Bill Ryder-Jones.
In addition to chilling vocals, this Brit has guitar skills to match. Calvi’s second album release, One Breath, showcases her growing talents as both a singer-songwriter and guitarist. One Breath features eleven songs written, produced and recorded in both France and the US. The songs were, according to an interview with the singer, inspired by hard times experienced in-between the two releases.
That being said, the album takes on a darker route than her previous album. One Breath’s tracks are the embodiment of Calvi’s deep thoughts and characteristics.
Beginning the dark trip is “Suddenly.” This song has a strangely catchy beat. The control Calvi has over her voice is evident in the various vocal ranges she taps into. From grand crescendos to whispery murmurs, “Suddenly” provides the strong start to the album, and the first single, “Eliza,” continues it.
“Piece by Piece,” like “Suddenly,” has an oddly catchy rhythm to it. I, personally, haven’t heard another song that sounds like it. The backing instruments and sounds have this weirdly soothing and relaxing vibe that’s hard to put into words. Just give it a listen, and be pleasantly surprised.
The next track titled “Cry” begins the slowing down from the dark high of the first few tracks. “Cry,” has a somewhat similar sound to “Eliza.”
“Sing to Me” begins with what seems to sound like an a capella verse. The backing music is so subtle, it sounds as if it’s not even there. All that’s heard is Calvi’s faint, yet powerful voice. The tune reminds me of Brandi Carlile’s track, “The Story.” Very emotionally provoking and a very good listen.
Right when Calvi’s whispery, soft side grows on you, her louder side comes out. “Tristan” has a different, almost spiteful tone to it. It enters with a bang, though, amazing listeners with her ability to match the flamboyant instrumental arrangements with her powerhouse vocals.
“One Breath” goes back to the whispery, breathy vocals. For the title track, the song has a very slow start. Calvi purrs her lyrics out, sounding pained in a way. The song ends on several instrumental notes, allowing the listener to let the lyrics sink in.
In “Love of My Life,” a bit of Gwen Stefani is channeled and heard. The lyrics are set apart by heavy electric guitar riffs that are loud and bass-dropping. The song takes a turn for the slow road in the bridge, before returning and ending with a loud bang.
The final three tracks, “Carry Me Over,” “Bleed into Me” and “The Bridge” bring the album towards a slow finish. “Bleed into Me,” in particular, has Calvi annunciating each verse, which makes the song seem to drag on. The same can be said for the final track, “The Bridge.”
The 11-track album is one that will eventually grow on listeners. It just takes a few listens for those who aren’t already familiar with Calvi’s goth-pop sound, if that’s even a genre. Personally, I found the album to have a strong start, but a rather slow end.