First impressions: Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi

Although comparisons with Siouxsie Sioux and PJ Harvey may be so obvious as to seem trite, they are unavoidable. And they’re not the whole story.

First there’s that commanding vocal, which also owes much to Edith Piaf and Chrissie Hynde. Then there’s the music, co-produced by longtime Polly Jean collaborator Rob Ellis, but evoking that other Harvey, Mick.

Brian Eno sings backing vocals. A bold claim on any debut, but indicative of the profile of this lauded release – which came out last year but is nominated for this year’s BRITs.

There’s something of Design For Life-era Manics about this, too – that confidence. Exuberance. Vitality.

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Anna Calvi‘s only real flaw is an unwillingness to push the sonic envelope. Every percussive strike and Duane Eddy-esque twang of her guitar has been done before. But rarely with such gusto.

Anna Calvi is not so much the shape of things to come as a still life drawing, beautifully rendered.

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