The late blossoming of Anna Calvi is a revelation and at the age of 33 she has just released her second album. Choosing to study instead of chasing the pop star dream too early, she has a Bachelor Of Arts in music. After hearing her play her fiery Fender Telecaster through a Vox Ac30, I simply can’t imagine what untold demons she could conjure up on her first instrument – the violin. But it’s her creative approach that makes her unique – her guitar literally trembles under her fingers. Angular lines and in contrast a cool self control with a rhythm hand like a Swiss clock, she is uncorrupted by obvious influences. (Perhaps on the violin she’s just another Mozart clone?) Her songs are a sonic adventure wrapped in melody but with an unpredictability. Vulnerable and tough, glamorous, a stylish enigmatic beauty, softly spoken until you hear the explosion of her singing voice.
Deep and emotional, she demands your complete attention to her passionate delivery and cathartic lyrics. She wants you to be silent and then abandon yourself to her charms. Anna Calvi is a beguiling presence, a lustful ghost – sometimes she is standing behind you and whispering in your ear – other times she is shouting in your face. You don’t know where she is going to reappear in the room as you nervously swing your gaze from the curtains to the doorway.
But her voice, her amazing voice. PJ Harvey meets Edith Piaf in a chocolate box. Siouxsie Sioux meets Patti Smith under a cadillac in overalls, oil smeared face, spanner and lipstick. One Breath, the title track is Kate Bush if she was the singer in Muse with the LSO. Live she is a dynamic dervish, a secret spy disguised as a Flamenco dancer with a fuzz box. Songs take strange turns, orchestras appear out of Steve Reich rhythms that give way to baritone guitars with choirs. Odd random reverb pianos sit comfortably alongside early Stooges distortion. Like Annie Clark of St. Vincent she is a new breed of adept art guitarists.
Embarking on a mammoth European tour in 2014, she will intoxicate you with her songs, her playing, her voice and her presence in the room. Buy a ticket to her upcoming show and buy her self titled debut album along with One Breath today.