From the opening, elongated note of an organ supported by the scratching of an electric guitar on album opener, “Moving Song”, it is immediately apparent that Annalibera‘s debut album is going to be something different, something very special. And as frontwoman Anna Gebhardt’s haunting and remarkable voice draws in thirty-five seconds into the song, the initial impressions are validated with each passing second and note and every song.
Nevermind I Love You is one of the most enthralling and tantalizing debuts to come out not just this year but in recent memory. The Des Moines, Iowa band’s first full-length is dramatic and cinematic; it is at times operatic; and it’s a sheer force of sound from start to finish. From the strumming bass lines of Phil Young to the stirring riffs of Ryan Stier‘s guitar to the electrifying notes of Gebhardt‘s keys and with each word she utters, a wide range of emotions is stirred, signs of a truly remarkable album.
“Moving Song” possesses all these characteristics with its brooding, building indie folk-rock sound that captures the brilliance of artists like The Bright Smoke, Daughter, and Marissa Nadler. It’s a fantastic gateway into the rest of the album and segue into “Battle World”, a lush, driving, ballad recalling some of the great songs of the ’80s. “Vermillion” follows, and it is a gorgeous, dream-folk song, reminding of the ethereal sound of New Zealand’s French for Rabbits. On this track, Gebhardt’s vocals take on a slightly higher pitch to give the track a sense of innocence despite the message of abandonment and lost.
If these three tracks didn’t bowl you over, “Black Cat White Cat” will. One of the best songs of the early year, the lyrics are poignant, honest, and hard-hitting. The instrumentation is excellent, rising to euphoric crescendos and cascading down to bring some calmness to the track before it again rises. Gedhardt’s voice, which is outstanding, brings another layer of emotion and sound to this remarkable number. It’s a song to get lost in, closing one’s eyes and breathing in its beauty.
“Blooms” brings some much-needed, uptempo energy to the album after back-to-back, powerful numbers. It’s a a spirited, shoegaze-y, indie-pop track that comes close to the sound and themes of individuality expressed by Lowell. It’s the one song on the album that might have you bopping in the kitchen.
“Clouds” is a slight hiccup for the trio. It lacks the energy and ethereal qualities of the previous numbers, and it comes across a bit melodramatic. With a bit more fine-tuning, it could be a stellar song.
The final two tracks take a different approach. They are less brooding and more mellow. They come across as gentle ballads that showcase the vast range of Gebhardt’s voice. “Mountain” is a delicate tune with a touch of dreaminess. It is almost a spiritual, hymnal tune with a fantastic choral finish, even though Gedbhardt sings alone. Such is the power of her voice. “Honesty”, meanwhile, is a calm song, where Gebhardt showcases her classical training. Despite its somber tone, it’s a satisfying conclusion to a truly great album. It is one that will leave you clamoring for more from this young band and having you join the chorus of new followers.
Nevermind I Love comes out on Tuesday, March 24 on Sump Pump Records. Get it at Bandcamp.
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