Monday, November 17, 2008

Review: Anya Marina - Slow & Steady Seduction, Phase II (* * * 1/2)

The seed of Anya Marina's new album, Slow & Steady Seduction, Phase II, should attract some attention. On one fateful night in a bar in Burbank, she and Britt Daniel (of Spoon fame) were discussing music when Anya mentioned she hadn't been inspired to write much recently. She felt frustrated at her inability to write in the rhythmic style of her recent favorites like LCD Soundsystem and Public Enemy. Later, Daniel sent her a selection of beats and loops he had created which ended up inspiring a good deal (and the best) of Marina's new record, which features Daniel as producer for two tracks.

Even without knowing the story behind the music, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to compare Marina's music to that of Spoon, especially on songs like "Drop Dead Blues" and "Two Left Feet," which mix acoustic guitars with stomping percussion. It's a great sound to serve as the backdrop for Marina's sexy-yet-sweet vocal style and unconventional-yet-relatable lyrics. Highlights include the cocky swagger of "All The Same To Me," the first single, "Move You," and the perfectly restrained, "Vertigo." Marina maintains a sense of humor and a sharp wit throughout even as she deals with broken relationships and heartache.

Occasionally, Marina's confidence gets the best of her, as on "Afterparty At Jimmy's," a sleazy rocker which would feel more at home on a Pink record but just sounds awkward here. Most of the time, however, her quirkiness and expressiveness allow her to create something refreshing, fun, and all her own. Slow & Steady Seduction blends elements of folk and pop music in an unusual and exciting way that should turn some heads come December.

The album drops December 9th on Chop Shop, but you can download the song "Move You" for a sneak peek at my previous post here.

Anya Marina's MySpace