Friday, October 06, 2023

Grace Annabella Anderson’s emotional new EP ‘Bandages’ is a perfect mood-setter for October

October is the moody month by definition: with something inherently melancholy in the leaves turning red, the days growing shorter, and the cold starting to seep in, it is the perfect season for turning to a different kind of music, one that has gentler, more melodic sounds, that concentrates more on the intimacy of voice, that showcases reflective lyrics. 

Elevating her sound from the intriguing indie-pop of her 2021 debut, ‘Nyneteen’, and moving into something more textured and immersive with this new record, Grace Annabella Anderson has crafted a collection of tracks that mirrors the mood of the month, making ‘Bandages’ the perfect October release. 

Cementing her position as an intriguing voice in the multifaceted landscape of alternative pop, this new EP clearly shows Anderson’s growth when compared to her sharp, but locally tentative debut, and displays a much greater confidence both in her songwriting and her delivery which is certainly setting the foundations for the challenges posed by a potential long player, with its broader breath and higher level of complexity, in the future.

There is generally a feeling that pop music has become about tunes over voices in recent years; Anderson bucks that trend and makes ‘Bandages’ eminently voice-centric. The title track is an excellent example of the way her voice takes centre stage and dominates the composition, the emotional delivery matching the emotional vulnerability portrayed in the lyrics. The tone of the latter may be conversational, but it is effective in the way that it addresses the complexities of the all-too-human situations it deals with: regrets mix with the realisation of self-worth, and it is very easy to empathise with Anderson’s narrative of difficult choices. Vocally, fans of the classic pop from the early Noughties might be reminded of Dido, both in the timbre and style and in the way that Anderson elegantly tackles a ballad; but there’s a beautiful fullness of voice, and an edge, especially in the way she confronts the higher notes, that is entirely her own.

The EP, when taken all together, has something of the journal. It offers an insight into private thoughts and emotions that feel starkly honest, and it truly feels like a coherent narrative, in the way that its predecessor did not. The shadow of a difficult relationship seems to loom over all four tracks, with the closing song ‘Battle Scars’ perhaps the most powerful in its channeling of a feeling of survival, whereas ‘No Getting Over You’ takes pain and frustrations and turns them into a soaring, powerful ballad, and ‘Mon Ami’ comes across as softer and more intimate. It is alt-pop with a soul, deeply attentive to its emotional side, and it is this overarching sincerity that makes it not only relatable but compelling.

The blend of melancholy and self-reflection in ‘Bandages’ is not only a perfect fit for the Autumn; it is also imbued with a soulfulness that is sadly often lacking from contemporary pop. Far from being stale, this ‘old-school’ approach fully pays off in a record that comes across as mature and confident, bold in its sincerity and fine-tuned in its sound. When and if Anderson decides to pick up the challenge of a long player, these storytelling skills will surely serve her well.

Chiara Strazzulla


Image: ‘Bandages’ official single cover

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Here;