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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Anya Parker-Lentz - The Giving

Anya Parker-Lentz - The Giving
2012, Anya Parker-Lentz
The first time you see Anya Parker-Lentz you might think she’s a typical American teenage girl.  You would be wrong.  Parker-Lentz has an understanding of link between art and life that extends far beyond her sixteen years.  Her debut EP, The Giving, shows the growing pains of youth, but also the powerful talent that causes people who have never heard her before to stop and listen.

The Giving opens with "Staredown", a modern teen pop love song with a quietly memorable chorus. Parker-Lentz' voice is a wonderfully enigmatic alto that calls to mind a mix of Stevie Nicks and Alexa Ray Joel. "Not Trying To Hurt You" is a maudlin ballad with solid pop sensibility. Derived from a simple piano riff into a minimalist arrangement, this number feels heavy and never manages to soar in spite of an appealing chorus. "Stuck In Limbo" is an emotionally drawn ballad of longing and pain. The song is well constructed but feels forced lyrically.

"The Giving" explores a martyrdom concept of love in stilted, awkward turns of language. Parker-Lentz manages to achieve an AAA radio sound here; if she can smooth out the lyrical struggles she just might have a hit on her hands. "Wake Up Alice" begins as a dark and chaotic waltz but quickly resolves into a sing-song take on teenage angst seen through the eyes of Lewis Carroll's most famous protagonist. Parker-Lentz calls out a dysfunctional love in "Walking Out". She's fully on the mark this time out, with a strident melody and catchy hook. The Giving comes to a quiet close with "Lullaby", which is too dark and full of shadows to be restful. This is the best track on the EP, showing a growing maturity in Parker-Lentz as a songwriter.

Anya Parker-Lentz is still quite young at the tender age of 16. Her enigmatic voice can make that easy to forget at times, even as her awkward lyrical stumbles serve as a reminder. The Giving is a mix of blessings and blemishes, but clearly shows a burgeoning talent struggling to break free from the chains of adolescence.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

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