Anna Calvi - Hunter (Domino) 2018
Anna Calvi’s third studio album, Hunter, is a co-mingling of art pop and suave vocals in between ethereal nods towards her friend and mentor Brian Eno when the synthesizers prevail. Hunter doesn’t shy away from her previous records—Calvi still spits out her soliloquies like teeth, singing a self-proclamation in songs such as “Alpha” where she exclaims she will “divide and conquer,” like a siren from the island of the Hunter, whose ravenous vocals point right at you with its fixed blade in a hypnotic and pulsing instrumental effect. But who is the prey on this concept record? It’s a sucker-punch advocacy for breaking gender binaries, according to Calvi, who says the record is about liberation of expression. She exerts a rumbling and fervor catharsis on her lead single “Don’t Beat the Girl Out of My Boy,” in a defiance reminiscent of the tales of Joan of Arc.
“Nothing Lasts” brings an eloquent mantra in the same contralto as Patti Smith, where guitars gallop and strum discreetly among her poeticism. Hunter is a pop record about learning to go against societal gender norms, but instead of the bubblegum beats of Lady Gaga’s attempt at queer representation, Calvi brings listeners an emotional sound that also breaks the barrier between avant-garde rock and earworm concepts.