Annie Dressner sings deftly-told stories with a comforting love of the everyday. East Twenties opens with ‘Heartbreaker’, settling old scores with nostalgia and forgiveness: “But I won’t be back again, no I won’t be back again”. ‘I Can’t Forget’ deals with a deeper harshness of departure, warm cello softening the edges: “I can’t forget, even if I try, I can’t forget the night that you died.” It’s like a still pool in the middle of the EP.
‘Flame’ is a coming-of-age song with the most involved narrative on the record, about an eye-opening trip: “I saw all the things I was told were sin, kissed and kissed in a classroom, when I was fifteen years old…”. It’s got the unaffected intimacy of a young girl’s memories: “Come to my room, I wanna show you what I’ve got, I’ve got a book with all my thoughts in”. If there’s a drawback to Dressner’s songwriting it might be that it’s melodic to the extent that she risks predictability, yet her work retains freshness and surprise, partly due to the directness of her lyrics. There’s some sweetness there, but it’s never cloying.
East Twenties lands lightly on its feet with final track ‘Lost In A Car’, at once wistful, touching and peaceful: “Get lost in a car with the ones that you love, turn the radio on”. It is intimate, the harmonies and added elements surrounding her voice perfectly-pitched. I first heard Annie Dressner at an open mic night where she quickly and effectively hushed the room; her work is a reminder that sometimes, all you you need to gather a crowd is a clear and evocative voice.
Words: Becky Varley-Winter