Original Dutch: Anna Ash - Sleeper - M-Podia
Los Angeles-based American singer/songwriter Anna Ash is finally back with a completely new album after an absence of several years; sleeper. Her music can best be described as American roots music with a touch of nostalgia for the 70s and she also has a very authentic voice.
A quirky singer with a special voice
Sleeper is also an album that is attributable to the pandemic. Anna had recorded half of it in the desolate environment of the Catskill Mountains by the end of 2020 and completed the rest a few months later in the more familiar environment of a studio in LA. The eleven songs are sober and in addition to Anna's special voice, it is mainly the subtlety of the session musicians that make this record a special listening experience. Everything is put in motion to let that fantastic voice shine. The album opens with arguably the best track; the sultry 'Favorite Part' is one of the most orchestrated songs in which the electric guitar and strings provide an unprecedented tension. On this track Anna's voice is warm and dark, while on the beautiful and subdued title song she shows an almost falsetto-like voice.
The second part is more sober
One of the best songs is 'Popularity; against a background of wind instruments and an organ, she takes us into the political divisions in a small community. 'Seasonal' sounds nice and retro and takes you back to the 70s and in 'Sgt Pepper' she takes us more to her childhood memories and there is of course a small reference to the famous album. Gradually the album becomes more sober and in the stripped-down love story 'Violently Blue' Anna sounds extremely fragile and we hear some diffuse guitar chords in the background. The emotional 'Fire Season' followed by the stripped-down 'Less Regret' and 'Dress Rehearsal' where a comparison with a young Joni Mitchel is not strange, are very nice little listening songs. With the almost cheerful sounding uptempo 'I Was Just Your Evening' it is advisable to use the lyrics to let the deeper meaning sink in. The closing track 'What The Light Can Do' is stylish and here the American proves once again what a gifted lyricist she is. But her voice remains the most special; an unprecedented range, expressive, crystal clear but often moving and vulnerable. Have fun listening.