Saturday, 20 January 2018

Album of the Month: Anna Mitchell - Anna Mitchell

Anna Mitchell - Album


Info: 'Anna Mitchell', the album, intertwines fragility and power, it is a record made with confidence, intuition and empathy, assuredly alternating between sparse, atmospheric grooves and slightly gnarled, expansively lovely distorted grungy folk, rock.

The album was recorded independently in Cork, Ireland under the watchful eye of engineer and co producer Brendan Fennessy (O Emperor) along with a band of well known Irish musicians including drummer Davie Ryan (Jack O’ Rourke, Notify), Brian Hassett on bass (John Blek & The Rats, Mick Flannery) and Alan Comerford on guitar (O Emperor, Mick Flannery).

A large chunk of this recording was written while Anna was based in based in Woodstock recording a live album with Simone Felice and The Felice Brothers and you can certainly hear the spirits of upstate New York haunting the album.

Opening track 'All These Things' which Anna Mitchell released as a single late last year, gets her sophomore self-titled album off to an ear-catching start. From a gentle introduction the song spirals delicately upwards, everything is so carefully placed and delivered, from the subdued percussion to the soft-blues of the electric guitar, before peaking with Mitchell's emotive chorus.

'It Pours' has that dirt-track country blues sound, the guitar-playing is brimful of nonchalant swagger, mighty blues รก la Clapton or Jeff Beck, and I love how the hammond organ is dropped briefly in throughout. Once again a powerful conclusion awaits at track's end. The country feels come on strong on third track 'Radio Waves', this is a very fine homage to the genre, a little bit Dusty and a little bit contemporary country-rock, it's warm and the musicianship is perfect.


Anna Mitchell - All These Things

With 'Never Learn' Mitchell moves into slightly more bare territory, but the emotive impact is not lessened. 'Get Out' sees the album swing back to traditional country-blues story-telling, in an instant Mitchell can pull up the blind on a window to the past, that familiarity is a source of high enjoyment to the listener, and the electric guitars exude honky tonk Rolling Stones-era vibes. Following the assertive electro-blues tone of 'Dog Track' we reach the chantueserie of 'Better Life', tremelos abound on possibly the most contemplative and escapist tracks on the LP. We're on the road again as we sign-off with closing number 'Come Home', a breezy sun-soaked slice of Americana where Mitchell puts the boot into her propensity for balladry.

Anna Mitchell's second album ticks all of the right boxes, it spans out in many directions from its country-blues core, keeping you engaged from start to finish in such a disposable era. The musicianship is beyond reproach and the production is perfect, avoiding being over-cooked whilst doing this collection of tracks absolute justice. An early highlight for 2018 which will appeal to existing fans of the genre and should make new ones too.

Anna Mitchel plays Coughlan's Live in Cork on the 8th of February, Levi's in Ballydehob on the 10th of Feb., and Whelan's on the 16th.


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