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Anna B Savage
A Common Turn Laviea Thomas , February 15th, 2021 08:54

The London singer-songwriter offers up a vulnerable voyage exploring mental health, sexuality, and self-growth

A Common Turn is a beautifully obscure art project, just short of fifty minutes in length. Released via City Slang, Anna B Savage has made a prompted return with her official debut studio album. Five years since her heartfelt EP Live at Café Oto, the new record is a confident step in the development of her work.

In this ten-track whirlwind, Savage dives deep as she aligns herself with the earth, flickering microscopic changes as the softness of her vocals float you between fantasy and reality. Humble, translucent and just simply mesmerising, in A Common Turn you get to see Savage at her most vulnerable – and, ironically, at her strongest yet. Sculpted over the last three years, A Common Turn is the perfect accumulation of Savage’s best work, assisted with the assistance of singer-songwriter William Doyle – who helped towards some of the production.

Eerie opener ‘A Steady Warmth’ marks the beginning of Savage’s woven theme of that unusual stretch between fantasy and reality. In this short interlude the music speaks for itself, as Savage’s vocals are little to none. Straight into this album, ‘A Steady Warmth,’ pursues Savage’s first theme, as she toys around with light and dark tendencies – working as both angelic, and alarmingly cryptic.

In just a few words A Common Turn is wacky and deeply honest. Savage’s use of mellow acoustics across her gentle guitar plucks, to hyper-charged breakups is what keeps you on your toes. If this album is anything, it’s mostly unpredictable, but one thing that is consistent throughout is Savage’s ability to poetically transition her vocals from one track into the next.

Across each song A Common Turn guides you along the artist’s journey of self-growth, acceptance and union with her surroundings, gliding you through crescendos and unpredictable song breaks. Album standout ‘Dead Pursuits’ is a fucking masterpiece. In this soulful instalment, Savage effortlessly perfects her scales as she drifts in and out of contralto into her head voice.

At track three, ‘Dead Pursuits’ has so much depth and realism, as Savage’s transparent reflection on her struggles with mental health rest at the core. Closing helplessly as she repeats, “I can’t do it,” in ‘Dead Pursuits’ Savage presents herself as an open book. Giving you the security of her trust, she offers you the space to enjoy the endearing craftsmanship of this beautiful album.

At the half-way mark of the album, ‘Two’ is the first song to really explore an up-tempo chorus. What opens as mellow and minimal, transitions surprisingly into dubby electronica. Heightening that theme of weaving through light and dark, ‘Two’ – alongside ‘Dead Pursuits’ and ‘A Common Tern’ – is a definite album standout.

From start to finish, A Common Turn takes you through Savage’s liberating highs, all whilst throwing you her turbulent lows – a raw and emotive album, to say the least.