Sunday, July 27, 2008
CD Review: Anj - When Grey Blushes
Anj - When Grey Blushes
2007, Andrea Granieri
Anj may be one of the more enigmatic singer/songwriters in popular music. A classically trained pianist, she writes songs in a style she calls "orchestrated jazz". In essence she is using jazz scales and progressions couched in classical song composition to create an incredibly unique framework for her poetic muse. 2008 sees the release of Anj's second album, When Grey Blushes. On When Grey Blushes Anj takes the step of adding instrumentation to her usual vocal/piano mix, with tremendous success.
The music on When Grey Blushes is stylistically similar to early Tori Amos material, in that it is piano driven and strongly based in classical composition with jazz and pop influences. From these you lose all comparisons, as Anj is truly unlike anyone else currently in the pop sphere. Her songs are deeply personal, musically intricate, and with a stark vocal style that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Former Stranger opens the set with an unsettling piano progression, counter-punching violin, and eccentric vocals. There are also a couple of passages where the most disturbingly beautiful vocal harmonies chime in. It is truly a memorable opening and one that lets you know this won't be your typical music experience. This musical distress resolves into the simple beauty of Bright Winter. I could run through every song here, because there isn't a tune on When Grey Blushes that isn't remarkable. For the sake of brevity I'll just mention a few songs of note. View Of The Few is starkly beautiful, literate and real. This is currently my favorite track on the album, but this is one of those albums where the favorite rotates from day to day or sometimes listen to listen.
Be sure to check out Praise (Happy Birthday Father), a highly personal and beautiful paternal tribute. The Rest Of Me is also noteworthy, building from a dark, brooding piano opening into an impassioned plea from one who gave all to a relationship and ended up with nothing.
Take away the sunlight at the end of the day and we are all left in shadow. It is here in the emotional dusk that Anj crafts stories about the apparitions and wraiths that trouble her heart. The result is one of the most striking and darkly beautiful albums of 2007. When Grey Blushes is sublime. It is a certified Desert Island Disc, and it gets Wildy's World's highest recommendation.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
You can learn more about Anj at www.myspace.com/anjmusic. You can purchase a copy of When Grey Blushes at www.cdbaby.com/cd/anj3.
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I have to agree with your summation of this wonderful album. My favorite is "The Mark", which penetrates and makes so vulnerably visible the "human condition" of emotional pain, confusion and how just "being there" for someone and experiencing it with them... somehow sustains them.
I think this artist is nothing short of superb...Can't wait for her next release!
I LOVE "View of a Few"! That is my favorite song on this album- it is kind of a Tori Amos meets Norah Jones kind of sound. "The Mark" and "Michelle" are also hauntingly beautiful songs. Love your style and poetry set to music. Can't wait to buy the next album!
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