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Try It For Yourself - In My Opinion It's Worth It,
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This review is from: Anna (Audio CD)
ANNA seemed to receive mixed reviews upon its release, not just from critics (who I don't always rely on) but from fans of the band also. Some praised the change in direction, whilst others called the album a disappointment compared to their previous offerings. Therefore, before ordering myself a copy of the album I decided to try it out. I listened to the album via Spotify, bearing in mind the scepticism it had received, and found that the album has a lot to offer.
Opener `Are You In Love With A Notion?' kicks things off in a big way, with pounding drum beats, racing guitar riffs and a successful deployment of a "woah, woah" vocal refrain. It is a pacy number, with a sing-a-long chorus which should go down well at live gigs, and some great vocal hooks in the verses (use of the name Deborah, reminded me of Pulp's `Disco 2000', don't know if that's just me though).
Lead single `Lose Control' is very much a grower, not necessarily clicking with the listener first time around, perhaps due to the off-key, intoned vocals in the verses, or perhaps the more electronic sound compared to the previous albums. It seems an odd choice for the lead single, but it does at least have an energetic chorus which will likely be the first thing that clicks with listeners (the rest of the song grew on me after a while). Next up though is the stand-out track on the album `Van Der Graaff' which perfectly marries the band's new sound with Liam Fray's song-writing style.
Another highlight comes in the form of `Marquee' which sees Fray in similar territory to St. Jude's `Please Don't' although it seems that he has matured since then, and the band have set a more fitting backing track to the lyrics. The opening to `Welcome To The Rave' reminds me of the opening to James' `I Know What I'm Here For' and explores a similar territory. On `Money' there is a very satisfying command to the vocals on the "Sit down and shut your mouth" line that opens the chorus, unfortunately the track is a little uneven, which is a shame as it has a good hook. `Save Rosemary In Time' is better than the bad-pun of a title would suggest, but it is probably the weakest track on the album.
The band haven't lost their touch when it comes to catchy choruses, and Liam Fray's lyrics don't seem to have changed all that much, which allows for a sense of familiarity for those who are sceptical about the band's newly embraced `new wave' sound. ANNA is worth your money, a decent album with more good than bad; it certainly seems to have been composed with live performances in mind.