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Anna Calvi
Hunter Sophie Brown , August 29th, 2018 14:12

Building on the sound paintings and battle-cries of her first two albums, Anna Calvi unleashes high drama and feverish passion in the act of liberation

Hunter is a hedonist’s call to dismantle normative ideas surrounding gender, and a vivid rumination on primal desire. The title track and lead single is a breathy seduction, pulsating with ecstatic synths and muddy guitar distortions. Calvi’s sound is richly cinematic – you can see the light playing on the water in the shimmering harp sounds of ‘Swimming Pool’, which rises to the orchestral heights of Busby Berkeley’s synchronised swimming beauties, and the windscreen wipers in the racing urgency of ‘Wish’, as if driving breakneck through a downpour in the throes of an all-consuming obsession.

The legacy of female-led British punk comes through, with essences of Lene Lovich in Calvi’s vocals on ‘Indies Or Paradise’, a track that kicks off with a hint of X-Ray Spex’s ‘Germfree Adolescence’. After the edgy, melodramatic intensity of the first two-thirds of Hunter, a break comes in the emotional detachment of ‘Away’. With its acoustic, gentle melody, it’s a bittersweet song of release, but the softness steadily gives in to a melancholic ache of loss. The jewel of the album, though, is ‘Don’t Beat The Girl Out of My Boy’, in all of its ethereal Cocteau Twins-esque gothic rock. Calvi howls up a storm as she defies the gendering that society imposes from an early age, imploring “let us be us”. Hunter is a tempestuous album full of haunting, unsettling vocals; it resonates with evocative power.