Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Review | Annie Dressner - East Twenties

There is a conversational ease to Annie Dressner's new EP East Twenties which makes for truly compelling listening.

The young singer-songwriter moved to the UK from New York last year, and it seems that she's carried more than her share of baggage over with her. On her 2011 debut EP, Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names, she opted for a downtrodden, personal tone, and she continues these themes on East Twenties, featuring a deeply personal collection of stories of love and loss. However, in the years which have passed between these efforts she has evidently matured, covering these same issues with increased context and composure.

'Heartbreaker' kicks off the record, re-calling the nostalgia-rich tale of her relationship with an ex. The events are described in incredible detail - from experimenting with alcohol, family dinners, and the breakdown of their relationship ('you took my love and tore me down') - making the characters feel rounded, and giving it a really rich, lived-in feel. On 'I Can't Forget' she takes a reflective look at the loss of a loved-one, hopelessly questioning its occurrence and hypothesizing the effect that this has had on her life. Accompanying her signature singer-picking guitar are the gorgeous sweeping strokes of a cello, adding to this stunning track.

'Flame' is arguably the EP's highlight. The verse's melodic hook sweeps around a playful guitar part, before rising into the song's chorus. Lyrically it's a coming of age story in about losing your innocence and testing the boundaries of what has been set out before you ('I saw all the things I thought were bad, and now I know'). Unfortunately the EP ends on its weakest track, 'Lost In a Car'. On this song the guitar part has a pedestrian tone, and the unambitious tone of the vocal in the verse makes for a rather damp squib of a climax.

In spite of the slight slump on its final track, it remains a very strong and accomplished sophomore EP from Annie Dressner. Her greatest talent is in her beautifully descriptive story-telling and her evocative use of language, and on this record she lays those strengths out in abundance.

If you like what you here below you can buy East Twenties (out April 8th) here

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