..a flagship song. Its simple, lonely piano swirls into guitars that stop just short of rocking, allowing plenty of room for Nalick's unaffected voice to spill in. When it does, the music turns forest-thick and dreamy--influences run the Tori Amos indie singer-songwriter gamut, with streaks of Jewel and Alanis Morissette spiking out--but there's a naturalness and urgency to her singing that saves every chorus and verse from clouding over. Now that she's cautiously alighted into pop territory, sophisticated listeners will do well to dust off their welcome mats.
Thorn and Smith, together with Eric Rosse (Anna Nalick) produced Nalick's debut, "Wreck of the Day ." With mix engineer Mark Endert (Fiona Apple) and a host of top-notch studio musicians (including performances by the entire production team, drummers Matt Chamberlain and Joey Waronker, guitarists Stuart Mathis and Lyle Workman, keyboardist Zak Rae and cellist Cameron Stone), they brought Nalick's music into the realm of crisp, clean, well produced, well performed, slick pop music, but in doing so, they avoided squeezing the life from her music. The frameworks on which Nalick sings are extraordinarily well put together, set up as crisp pop music with unagressive synths and strings to keep the edges off the music, well structured guitar-and-keys layering, and tasteful vocal harmonies.
Tammy La Gorce
Anna tells about her early age:
"Ever since I was a little girl I just knew I wanted to be a performer," she recalls. "My earliest inspiration came from my grandparents, they both performed on Broadway, mainly in the chorus. My grandmother even danced with Fred Astaire. She was in the stage versions of the Marx Brothers' 'Coconuts' and 'Animal Crackers.' I learned many of the songs from those old shows from my grandmother who taught them to me when I was a kid." She notes that "inspiration comes from a variety of sources," adding that her songs are "not necessarily about my personal experiences, but sometimes just observations of situations or relationships of different people I've known.
As one of a new breed of singer-songwriters for this young century, the 20-year-old California native has put the finishing touches on her debut album, "Wreck of the Day .", and the result is a refreshing blend of sophisticated wordplay, haunting melodies, sublime textures and atmosphere.
Anna takes a heartfelt, introspective and spiritual approach when writing her words and music. They get funneled through my own inner psyche. Whatever the source of the interpretation, the feelings I get are personal. I find a need to write these feelings down in words and the melody follows." Although Anna's songs are intimate, they are poignantly universal at the same time.
The strikingly melodic "Breathe (2 AM)," the album's first single, examines life's uncertainties and offers comfort as Anna describes "three different situations that were intertwined during a particular period of time." She looks for salvation in "Satellite," her lonesome voice cutting deep in such lines as: "And so I send my feeble flare/Through the silent, arctic air/Heading anywhere/Until at last I've finally found/A place to lay my anchor down."