Anna Burch’s debut album, entitled Quit The Curse, has a true sense of wisdom in youth. Sonically, the record takes cues after typical indie artists – soft guitars, monotone vocals, and a penchant for the twee. However, what sets Anna Burch apart from the pack is her outstretched and begging authenticity. It may be easy to set her aside as a Courtney Barnett/Lana Del Rey hybrid, but there’s much more clawing at the surface upon repeat listenings.
Burch hails from Detroit and is somehow, at the age of 30, a career musician who has finally just made her first solo record. According to her bandcamp site, she has a history with bands Frontier Ruckus and Failed Flowers, but even without knowing her biography, Burch’s debut has a sense of urgency and immediacy that beckons her to front-woman status.
The first two tracks, “2 Cool 2 Care” and “Tea-Soaked Letter,” feature pop guitar leads and hooks but still manage to weave a hint of depressed nostalgia through them. In “2 Cool 2 Care,” the chorus is a simple but effective: “You scare me with your indifference/ You’re best when you’re a mess.” These lyrics introduce Burch as a wry, dry, and sorrowfully ironic writer. Her personality permeates the whole album just as effectively and easily the best part of the album.
“Tea-Soaked Letter” is the most upbeat song on the record and is easily catchy. The song also twist Burch from a sarcastic wallflower from “2 Cool” to a more bittersweet old woman stuck in a young body. The lyrics in “Tea-Soaked Letter” represent this cognitive dissonance well in the outro, with a repeated “you’re all I wanted” line stuck in front of a bubblegum musicality.
Burch’s sonic style is also reminiscent of nostalgia, with her vintage surf vibes combined with small bursts of ‘90s girl grunge. This grunge comes out in the chorus for “Asking 4 A Friend,” where she loudly pronounces “you’re faking/ you’re faking the fall.” This genre mix is very distinct and separates Burch from the rest of the vintage rockers, but often feels directionless and repetitive. The title track “Quit the Curse,” “Yeah You Know,” and “With You Every Day” could easily be interpreted as alternate versions of “2 Cool 2 Care.”
Infrequently, Burch comes out of her own stylistic rut with a nod to old-flavored country/western tunes. “Belle Isle” is a clear centerpiece to her album that shows her commitment to the aforementioned genre. The song features heartachin’ lyrics and an enviable slide guitar. Her yearning is ever-present on this track and punctuated with her last couplet: “We danced to that song twice in a row/ And I can’t let go all that easy.” She really inhabits her not-quite sadness on “Belle Isle” and transports the album, briefly, away from the studio and onto a magical island.
With “Quit the Curse,” Burch is ending her career as second-stringer and promoting herself into the big leagues. With famed engineer Collin Dupuis (Angel Olson, The Arcs) behind her and armed with ambition, Anna Burch will certainly make her mark on the indie scene in the upcoming years.
By: Jackson Wright