11 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On her 2005 debut Anna Nalick prefers to simmer rather than scorch her way through a set of emotionally conflicted compositions. At 20, this California singer/songwriter shows a firm command of her craft, tossing off intricate wordplay and vivid imagery with ease. Damaged romance is a frequent concern, with the slightly countrified “Breathe (2 AM)” and the moody, rock-slanted “Bleed” cutting especially deep. Nalick has a knack for light, slippery grooves, coming across as a more playful Fiona Apple on shuffling tunes like “Citadel” and “Consider This.” She largely avoids melodrama in favor of interior exploration — “Paper Bag” and “Catalyst” probe tormented relations with a feel for minute detail. While most of the tracks here are folk-pop, “Forever Love (Digame)” allows Nalick to put on the elegant airs of a jazz chanteuse. Best of all is the title song (heard here in two versions), a brooding account of obsession and acceptance set to a woozy, smoldering melody. In the end, Nalick makes even her painful confessions sound life affirming.

EDITORS’ NOTES

On her 2005 debut Anna Nalick prefers to simmer rather than scorch her way through a set of emotionally conflicted compositions. At 20, this California singer/songwriter shows a firm command of her craft, tossing off intricate wordplay and vivid imagery with ease. Damaged romance is a frequent concern, with the slightly countrified “Breathe (2 AM)” and the moody, rock-slanted “Bleed” cutting especially deep. Nalick has a knack for light, slippery grooves, coming across as a more playful Fiona Apple on shuffling tunes like “Citadel” and “Consider This.” She largely avoids melodrama in favor of interior exploration — “Paper Bag” and “Catalyst” probe tormented relations with a feel for minute detail. While most of the tracks here are folk-pop, “Forever Love (Digame)” allows Nalick to put on the elegant airs of a jazz chanteuse. Best of all is the title song (heard here in two versions), a brooding account of obsession and acceptance set to a woozy, smoldering melody. In the end, Nalick makes even her painful confessions sound life affirming.

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