Quit The Curse by Anna BurchRelease date: March 2, 2018
It’s an odd sensation listening to this record and watching snowflakes blow about outside. It has felt like a long winter but here comes Anna Burch with a warm breeze in her voice and summer in her back pocket. A native Michigander she’d probably scoff at our relatively mild winter anyway. Quit The Curse is a warm and wonderful debut of swooning, feelgood indie pop and the only thing wrong with it is that it’s over too soon. I know, ‘indie pop’ can be a hard sell because so many people delight in doing it so very badly but when it’s done well it still charms and this is just brilliant.
If you have even the vaguest passing curiosity about the return of Belly you should check it out. It’s perhaps not a million miles from Heavenly label mates The Orielles but where their main thing is fizzing with their own giddy youth Anna is just a little older, wiser and calmer. This is quite literally the case as, although this is her solo debut, she’s spent a few years playing bass and singing in the remarkable Frontier Ruckus and, more recently, indie popsters Failed Flowers. Slowly putting together her own songs in the background.
That patience has paid off in a record that feels both assured and unhurried. Sonically it’s a comforting patchwork of fuzzy 90’s memories so finely woven I can’t be sure if the nostalgia is mine or there in the music. Maybe both, lyrically the dominant feel is a kind of rueful experience and it’s framed by an understated guitar pop classicism that’s familiar but perfectly formed and seemingly effortless. Comparisons abound. It breathes new life into tired shapes like Madder Rose once did if that’s any help. What it most reminds me of is long forgotten Tampa oddballs Pee Shy, which I know isn’t helpful. Or an easy internet search.
The title track recalls The Sundays, while ‘Asking 4 A Friend’ is the kind of hazy, Kim fronted, pop song you know David Geffen always hopelessly prayed Sonic Youth were going to come up with. Elsewhere her voice has just a shadow of Hope Sandoval as it rides the pedal steel lazily flowing though ‘Belle Isle’. It’s the sort of sweet indie-country Caitlin Rose does so well, and if that sets it slightly apart the line <em>”I’m lovesick and sun burned and summer’s only beginning”</em> catches the mood of the whole record. Her voice is stronger than she lets on, clear and unaffected, she sings in the middle of it in a casual, conversational register perfectly suited to the diaristic musings of the lyrics. You’ll find yourself helplessly singing along with her only to be left lead footed by the occasional flight of her voice or caught off guard by the hidden sharpness of lines like “<em>We started talking and I started to feel better, the stabbing hatred for you suddenly felt softer”</em> from ‘What I Want’. The effect is like sitting in the backyard, sipping cocktails in the glow of the golden hour while your witty friend bitches about her life. She’s great company; funny, smart and generous with the cocktails.