Why is she so wet? What has she been doing? Anyway for this third album for Domino Anna Calvi has made a visceral and truthful record that explores those very 2018 themes of sexuality and gender identity resulting in her most raw and primal record to date. Recorded by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Grinderman) and featuring Adrian Utley (Portishead) Calvi has made what is sure to be a thought provoking and passionate work.
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Anna Calvi’s art pop gets hyper-subversive on ‘Hunter’, a raw but delightfully melodic record that braces its listener with explorations of sexuality and gender identity. Through this record Calvi considers how gender can be not a role but a collaboration, attempting to draw up a character who encompasses masculine, feminine and anything outside of that binary. Straight from “As a Man”, the record tries on different characters and comfort zones, serving as an artful investigation into the self.
Straight from “As a Man” the record is living a multitude of musical lives, its ominous chord sequence entirely reverted by a chorus of ad-ready whistles. The out-of-breath vocalisations that finish it off sound like Jenny Hval; “Don’t Beat the Girl of My Boy” is a jangling post-punk tune meeting glitzy radio rock, its gleefully obnoxious wordless hook once again counterpointing its darker, more metallic sound. If the record’s bleak demeanour reminds you of the Bad Seeds, a bit, that totally scans: Martyn Casey is creating those ricocheting basslines you’re hearing. And yet ultimately the record feels quite jubilant, giving into its aphoristic inclinations with doo-doo-doos and climactic vocal outbursts. All this, and we haven’t mentioned the synthwork, which takes the record from pitch black to some shiny shade of purple.
The best moments feel the loosest, compositionally, as if Calvi is improvising her music the way she’s exploring her identity. “Swimming Pool” begins with an arpeggiating guitar, placed front and centre in what sounds like a grandiose cavern. As the song develops, it becomes a searing symphony that’s just a little bit unsure of it, diving head on into searing strings and wave-crashing drums. Here, Calvi shows herself off as a brilliant, instinctive songwriter who embraces the new and the open, whose art is just outside the certain.
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- Hunter by Anna Calvi
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