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Friday, October 22, 2010

Susan Anders - Swimmer

Susan Anders - Swimmer
2010, Zanna Discs

Berkeley, California native Susan Anders grew up on the grounds of musical revolution.  It was never a question of whether Anders would be a performer but more of when and where.  As a songwriter, Anders' songs have been recorded by the Four Bitchin’ Babes, Jordan Carter and The Irrationals, among others.  As the front woman for Susan's Room, Anders releases five albums in the last decade of the twentieth century.  In 2002, Anders moved to Nashville with husband/guitarist/producer Tom Manche, and released her debut solo album Release in 2005.  In the mean time she's done work as a vocal coach, working with Rose MacGowan, Joey Heatherton and Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott.  On October 26, 2010, Anders releases her sophomore solo effort, Swimmer.

Swimmer opens with "Thirsty", a brilliant bit of pop songwriting laced with a soulful vocal line.  Susan Anders' voice is untrained and full of character; esoteric and interesting.  Anders sounds like she's riding right on the edge of going off key at times but never stumbles, but it all works incredibly well on "Thirsty".  This is a song that in the right hands would be climbing the pop charts.  "I Want I Want" documents Anders' insatiable nature in a straightforward tune with a nice melody that is nice but feels a bit clich√©.  "Love Beats Time" is a solid love song that's aurally pleasing but doesn't really stand out.  Anders dips into the well of brilliance again for "Always A Beginner", an edgy tune with both jazz and blues in its roots.  It's about a lost soul who's always getting tossed about by the waves of life. 

"I Can't Fix You" is a song of realization sung with a loving melancholy and resignation.  Anders offers some sweet country accents in a solid arrangement that is sure to please.  "Get To You" is highly emotive; the utter weight of the tune weighs it down despite some indications of pop sensibility in the arrangement.  "Box Of Mom" is a great memorial/ode to mom and the ways she made life special; the song is catchy and sweet and could become a favorite for mother's day.  Anders closes with "Forgiveness", a bluesy tune that's more about composition than story-telling.  Anders' melody is memorable, and it's a solid bow for Swimmer.

Susan Anders offers up a solid effort on Swimmer.  There are definitely some down moments on the album, but then Anders shows occasional flashes of utter brilliance as a songwriter.  As a vocalist Anders may be an acquired taste, but she gives solid and impassioned readings of her song that are charming and appealing in their own right

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Susan Anders at or at Zanna Discs or  Swimmer drops on October 26, 2010.  You can order the CD from Zanna Discs.  Digital versions available from Amazon and iTunes.

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