As her name suggests, young Los Angeles artist La Mer has an ability to write poignant lyrics and transport you to the coast is a refreshing experience. Her whimsical instrumentation accompanied by beach-side recordings make Anchor Baby a sea-side themed journey and, with her innocently high and childish vocals, mixture of guitar, strings, an accordion and bells, gives a relaxing atmosphere from the first bar of ‘Red Balloon’. A slow, steady melody creates a wave-like rhythm; to be accompanied later by recordings of playing children and the sea. Her positive and timeless message of “letting go” is only enhanced by the calmness of the sea – almost making you believe that you’re sitting along the coastline.
The theme carries on throughout the album. ‘Anchor Baby’ itself keeps an echoed rhythm of vocals and electric guitar that has a real sing-a-long feel, joined by the repeating lyric of “are you married to the low tide” and surrounding seagulls. With a calming air, don’t expect her songs to energise or motivate you. Each verse is just to be followed by another rhythmic chorus, which never climax at any given point. Even the track ‘Sailor’, which has a steady and heavy drum beat, lacks the climactic main chorus and brass voice, leaving the listener ever-waiting for the song to show its passion.
Having said that, La Mer’s knack of avoiding clichés and reaching her message through lyrics is one to be admired. Lyrics such as, “peaches taste sweeter with time in the sun” are sung with such life-experience and sympathy that you’re left with an imprint and a teaching from each song. However, the effectiveness of the message will depend on how much you can relate to her own sunny lifestyle.