Review: Anna Calvi

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(Photo by Maisie Cousins)

Anna Calvi at the All Saint’s Church, 11/02/14

Made it to the All Saint’s Church in Hove just in time to see Woman’s Hour play and open up the night for Anna Calvi.
Woman’s Hour blends interesting synth sounds with live instruments, however the result is far from dynamic. With layers that neither increase nor decrease in intensity, with no tension and release, and with no movement, Woman’s Hour falls short of potential sonic intrigue. When witnessing this live, it allows your mind to wander off too aggressively, with little attention actually focused on the present moment. However maybe this is the intent, to create chilled out music with hints of pop which doesn’t require your full attention.

Anna Calvi is a massive step up from Woman’s Hour. Her small figure graces the stage and hits us with full energy with her first number ‘Suzanne & I’. Though not as obvious in the recordings, Calvi is an incredible and masterful guitarist, going from strummed chords to full-on shredding in a heartbeat without over-doing it nor doing it for the sake of pretentiousness. Her voice is also a powerful tool that increases the intensity of the music, but can then be used in quieter moments to emphasize silence with whispers and sighs. The All Saint’s Church was the perfect venue to showcase Calvi’s insights into passion, love and intense desire. She is most certainly one of the most interesting and fascinating artists today, coming from the same avant-garde vein of Scott Walker but developing her sound into something more accessible.

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