New York based singer-songwriter Annie Hart – erstwhile member of Au Revoir Simone – has released this second album intentionally for winter, as she feels it’s a wintry sound. It’s certainly hushed and contemplative, as we hunker down, the better to stockpile and get cosy ahead of the inevitable harsh Christmas weather.
But the wistful softness is both the album’s strength, and its weakness. It’s often so minimal and sweet that it’s incredibly soporific, meaning little tonal variation: a wispy, feather-light collection tending towards lullabies.
Embrace The New Age and The Paper Pull share barely there analogue synth and whispered vocals, like some kind of confession to a best friend, but feel forgettable.
Better by far are those tracks where Hart bares her teeth more. On Longing To Care Less she’s huskier and defiant sounding, with a nagging, disturbing 80s synth line. Phoenicia No Coffee is bolstered by sleepy harmonica and dreamily strummed acoustic guitar, even if she feels more awake, vocally. And in the heartbeat rhythmic swing of Don’t Breathe For Me she chides a lover for not giving their all to her.
In the main though, it’s nice, but inessential. A more varied palette to the work and she’d feel like a more compelling proposition. It’s in there, we’ve heard it in the engaging indie pop of her Au Revoir Simone days. It just needs to seep out again.