Seattle – You have an angel in your town, and her name is Anna Cate. With captivating lyrics and a voice that seems as though it can come from the girl next door, Anna’s music is as charming as it is unique. I say with full confidence this is one of the most well-rounded artists I’ve had the opportunity to review, and I’m certain you’ll agree upon checking her out.
Classically trained on both harp and violin, Anna has breathed new life in the rock genre with the fearless mix of Harp with keys, bass, drums, and her aforementioned voice. While not avoiding modern song-writing themes and contemporary feel, this entire self-titled debut is anchored throughout with gorgeous classical orchestral, almost anthem-like musical interludes.
Among the stand-out tracks are “This Old Radio,” “Full Circle,” and the gorgeous closing track “The Letter.” Each with absolutely masterful orchestration from start to finish, “Radio”brings out Cate’s talent for composition and vision for her music. While not particularly lyric-heavy, this song as a virtual showcase for how great musicians can turn story-tellers and manipulate the heart.
“Full Circle” kicks in right away with staccato eight-notes on harp over cut-time rock drums, before bringing in piano, guitar and vocals. This is a brilliant exercise in the mix of dynamic ranges to pull the most out of a song. Think The Tragically Hip or Tonic. This track is, perhaps, as close as Anna gets to starting riots in the streets with her rock, but it’s just plain good, and leads wonderfully to “The Letter,” an amazing lost-love song that should bring the toughest whiskey-drinking cowboy to tears.
Sweet, groove-laden and with a good bit of “Shoe-gazer” thrown in the mix, I have a hard time labeling where this falls in the genre spectrum. I mean, it has so much of the gorgeous romance aspect that made us all love Dashboard Confessional, but there’s such appeal to the folk-rock and pop-country side as well there is no doubt in my mind, she can do very well in any direction she chooses to take her music.
I am absolutely floored by the maturity of these songs – both in lyrical content, but overall as compositional and production quality, Anna demonstrates both a grounding and humility in her musicianship as well as a willingness to experiment and push aside regard for traditional rules of what defines a modern radio-friendly tune.
Do your ear-balls a favor – listen to this 6-song EP from an artist who is not only wise beyond her years, but cute and stirs emotion to and fro. She’s way better than whatever bearded wussies with banjos you were listening to before.