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A School of Secret Dangers

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Album Review

If you're looking for comparisons, Amy Annelle could serve as a female counterpoint to Richard Buckner. (The sleeve of A School of Secret Dangers even has pictures of Chico, CA, a frequent Buckner touchstone.) Therein lies the problem, however, for like Buckner, Annelle eludes comparison. Her deconstructed, lo-fi tracks show ancient (yet non-specific) folk and country sensibilities; nevertheless, the tracks have enough of that uncanny, forward-thinking something to have critics throwing alt or indie in front of the selected genre. To make it simple, Annelle has crafted a gorgeous batch of songs on her four-track. She is also a fine lyricist, with the obtuse mystery of poet e.e. cummings (once again leading to a Buckner comparison). "Idaho," driven by some acoustic picking worthy of deep, dark Appalachia, offers the sentiment, "I dreamed that Idaho was on the coast but I couldn't find a state to take its place/We stayed all night listening to your grandfather's 78s 'til the lights began to glow and shadow all the lines on your face." Other highlights include "Ugly Stray," with its overlapping vocal tracks and theme of homelessness, and the sweet, wistful "Will Try."


Born: Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Amy Annelle produces quietly beautiful music that blends Americana and sadcore styles, hushed vocals, highly poetical lyrics, and "found sounds." The Portland, OR, artist came to the Northwest from Chicago, hooking up with Portland "anti-rock" label Hush Records to release her debut album, Which One's You, in 1999. That effort was followed by the similarly lo-fi (in this case, taped on a four-track) School of Secret Dangers in October of 2001. (The album title was pinched from author John Steinbeck.)...
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A School of Secret Dangers, Amy Annelle
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