Anna Calvi is the sound of a buzzing, pink neon sign on a sultry summers night, flickering outside your open window and casting candy-hued lines across your prone, murdered corpse. It’s the sounds of screeching tyres making a break for it through a blackened lane. The rumble of a tryst in an old lift, in an empty hotel. It’s the sounds of sex and death, perhaps happening simultaneously.
Miss Calvi is more than the sum of her parts. Her eerie guitar work is reminiscent of Buckley at his most lachrymose, Josh Pearson in full flow or even Will Sergeant. She can even belt it out like Ian McCulloch or Juanita Stien while she’s at it, although the facile comparison is always going to be PJ Harvey, (aided by the album being co-produced with Polly crony Rob Ellis), as she’s female, and has a guitar, does some singing. Nick Cave fancies her, taking her on the road on the latest Grinderman tour, and no doubt he sees some of himself in her nascent abilities. But it took Nick, and Polly, years, and much remoulding, to become as fully formed as this.
All this she crams in and more, Fado, Piaf, Ravel, Barber, and she can sound like many things at once, while constantly sounding like herself, and throughout it all there’s the tantalising promise of more to come. One hopes that she can harness the kind of mutability that’s served Polly Jean so well over the years, but for now allow this record to lure you down some rain streaked alley way and leave you in a pool of your own claret, mumbling at the beauty of it all. Oh sweet death, the seductress!