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One Breath

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 8, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

One Breath is a bold and confident record that begins an exciting chapter in this uniquely talented artist's career. Produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, The Walkmen, Clinic), One Breath was written in a year and recorded over a few intense weeks. The album is a more personal record than its Mercury Prize nominated predecessor. Reflective and vulnerable, it strikes a balance between optimism and despair, beauty and ugliness. The fiery elements of Anna's debut remain, but One Breath is more instinctive and urgent, revealing a wider spectrum of textures and emotion.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Suddenly
  2. Eliza
  3. Piece By Piece
  4. Cry
  5. Sing To Me
  6. Tristan
  7. One Breath
  8. Love Of My Life
  9. Carry Me Over
  10. Bleed Into Me
  11. The Bridge


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 8, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino
  • ASIN: B00EKJQCVI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,479 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Anna Calvi's new album more than avoids the much-dreaded "sophomore-slump" syndrome. One Breath manages to retain many of the traits that made her debut memorable, while moving in totally new directions at the same time-- no easy feat. The first two tracks (Suddenly and Eliza) and the fifth track (Sing To Me) are as close to her earlier material as the album gets. Even on these tracks we notice immediately a denser, more layered sound than the first album, with the addition of organ and synth parts, and, in Sing To Me, a string section. According to Anna Calvi, Sing To Me is an homage to Maria Callas, though it sounds closer to film composer Ennio Morricone than Verdi. Piece by Piece makes it apparent that this album is much more experimental than her debut. That track, which slightly resembles St. Vincent's Cruel, gives listeners a first taste of the dissonant arrangements and jabs of noise that pervade much of the album. "I will forget you piece by piece," she sings, as the fragmented arrangements mirror her description of painful memories disintegrating over time. Cry brings a violent emotional element into the album lyrically and musically. The song builds from eerily subdued verses carried by organ to carefully placed shards of angry guitar and a ferocious crescendo, in which she howls"If you love me won't you cry?!" Tristan rocks hard, driven by synth-bass, aggressive guitar work, and powerful vocals. But the real surprises start with the title track, One Breath. "I've got one second to live before I say what I've got to say/ it's gonna change everything," she intones against a hushed, pulsating backdrop which builds slowly to a blaze of white noise before abruptly segueing into a haunting string arrangement accompanied only by a droning synthesizer.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Anna Calvi is Britain's answer to America's St. Vincent. I don't raise this comparison because both of these singer-songwrtiers are females that seem to thrive in an indie-rock landscape seemingly dominated by men. No, Anna Calvi is one of the only musicians working today that seems to meet (and even out shine) the raw energy and control that St. Vincent's Annie Clark puts to wax. Both artists are so precise and formal in their compositions that you can almost imagine them standing with perfect posture while playing guitar or laying down vocal tracks. The biggest difference between the two songwriters is the depths to which they will go; with St. Vincent's music, there's always a feeling of safety that things won't get too dark or too nasty. Calvi, on the other hand, offers no such comfort, and on her second record, One Breath, this is particularly true. She's going to get as dirty, nasty, brutal, and angry as she needs to.

Calvi has stated that she likes to writes songs in which the music and the lyrics tell the same story, and this is probably her greatest strength on One Breath. Her music is muscular and precise, but when emotions spill into the lyrics, her noisier, more experimental side comes out. However, even at its messiest (the distorted "Love Of My Life"), there's a mechanical nature to Calvi's music. The strong backbone that she affords these compositions allows Calvi to take her time. She never sounds rushed, but because the foundations of her songs are so sturdy, she never quite feels meandering either. Some of her rhythms are so basic and propulsive that they feel tribal; the opener "Suddenly" and "Carry Me Over" move forward with a slow gallop.

But enough about how messy and nasty Anna Calvi's music can be, let's talk about how beautiful her sound can get.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I kept on calling this album "Breathe" .....good description of what you need to do after you listen. This is my second Anna Calvi album, and I love it just as much as her first album, but for very different reasons. No matter what, she puts her whole heart and soul into her music, and it definitely shows! Listen to both albums constantly, and never tire of hearing ether one. Looking forward to someday seeing her perform live!
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You can read my 5 star rating of Anna's self titled album. For me, One Breath went in the wrong direction to earn equal praise. The reviews on Amazon that precede mine clearly disagree. I just did not like the channeled anger---one reviewer alluded to PJ Harvey----and I especially did not like the synthesizers, drumming and a truly offensive bass. Instead of being supported as on her previous CD, the studio crew---even Anna's own contribution to the programming----drown her singing and put this music in a genre that does not appeal to me. I WILL watch this artist, but for now the jury is out.
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Format: Audio CD
The two previous reviewers do such a fine job of trying to express the experience of listening to Anna Calvi's music into words, that I feel no need to add to them. As much as I liked Calvi's first album, this one feels so much richer. The only words that I can use to describe listening to this album is that it is an experience--not so much a collection of songs as it is a complete work from start to finish. It's almost akin to the act of watching a film, in the sense that the film is something larger than a collection of scenes, which make up its parts. I can't remember the last time I thought that about an album--years ago, such an experience with an album was commonplace--now, so many albums seem like a collection of songs--some memorable, some not. Here, each song is part of a total experience....how refreshing. And in the end, when I reflect back, I think in terms of the whole album rather than of a specific song.
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