On her third album, Anna Calvi projects an assured, self-realised voice as she tackles issues of ascribed gender roles and sexual stereotyping head-on. On the sensual, palm-muted As A Man, Calvi ponders rhetorical gender questions; the sweeping keyboard pads of Hunter, which bears melodic similarities to Morning Light from 2011’s self-titled debut, find company in fuzzy slide guitar and a Kate Bush-like falsetto; Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy confronts the subject of forcing young children to conform to outdated norms, Calvi breaking into a steepling howl at its climax. The virtuosic guitar playing that characterised her debut is often cloaked in effects, with reverb-heavy drums and keyboards played by Portishead’s Adrian Utley centre stage; although on the gothic drama of Indies Or Paradise, Calvi breaks into a brief hyperbolic dive-bombing solo, and Wish features some superlative playing. Three albums in, Anna Calvi has chosen to follow overtly the maxim of writing what you know, to stunning effect, on a record of high operatic drama and lyrical confidence.
Written by Gary Walker. Released on Domino.