Anna Burch - If You’re Dreaming Music Album Reviews

The Detroit singer-songwriter’s second album is sparser, lonelier, and more patient, allowing the candor of her lyrics to shine through.

From the outset of If You’re Dreaming, Anna Burch sounds deliberate. The steady pace of opening track “Can’t Sleep” is a confident introduction to a new sound: one sparser, lonelier, and more patient than the jittery folk-pop songs of her 2018 solo debut, Quit the Curse. On her second album, Burch is more confident, even as her subject matter becomes more introspective. The wordless, uplifting chorus of “Can’t Sleep,” a song about insomnia, stretches out like a long road ahead. It’s a strong new direction for the Detroit singer-songwriter, though it doesn’t always maintain the same momentum.

Where Burch’s debut often layered her vocals with scratchy guitar riffs to evoke 1960s girl-group harmonies, If You’re Dreaming mellows out the sound. Burch takes a more stripped-back approach, soaking her voice in echo. The image of her sitting beneath a spotlight, alone on stage—as in the Scorsese-inspired video for “Tell Me What’s True”—lingers in the mind’s eye. Over that song’s doleful electric piano, Burch leans into the foreground so that you can’t miss the candor of her lyrics: “When I used to hate myself/I saw things so clearly.” Likewise, the sense of social anxiety she evokes on the bluesy, mournful “Go It Alone” is heightened by how starkly her voice seems to stand on the fringes of the party.
Just as spending a lot of time in your own company gives small interactions a feeling of outsize significance, the record’s pared-back palette allows the tiniest variations to feel startling and fresh. When the woodwind flutters on the interlude “Keep It Warm,” or when a second vocal track enters on “Every Feeling,” it hits like a stiff breeze. A subtle swell of saxophone lifts “Not So Bad,” a dreamy soft-rock tune about admitting you enjoy someone’s company; it might easily have tipped over into schmaltz, but Burch masterfully keeps the mood light-hearted and restrained.

That deliberate simplicity doesn’t make for a consistently invigorating listen. The second half sinks into a slower pace after “Keep It Warm,” while Burch’s lyrics shift from dwelling on anxiety towards an acceptance of her lonely, quiet state. An extra interlude, the fuzzy “Picture Show,” only slows the momentum further. “Here With You,” the album closer, is serene and slight, and nowhere near as satisfying as the richer, angstier first half.

But what resonates most is the clarity of Burch’s emotional world. The lyrics of her debut were tantalisingly guarded, offsetting the drama of her melodies with wry one-liners. That humor still lives in If You’re Dreaming—it’s there in the nonchalant shrug of the title “Not So Bad” and in her resigned cry of “I’m so tired” on the sunny “Party’s Over”—but like the overall tone of the record, it’s softer. In Burch’s minimalist musical landscape, each lyric she pushes to the foreground becomes loaded with meaning. It’s as though she’s smiling knowingly as she sings, while also feeling every word.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Anna Burch - If You’re Dreaming Music Album Reviews Anna Burch - If You’re Dreaming Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 14, 2020 Rating: 5


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