There is a danger of overkill on the quirky-girl-with-acoustic-guitar-and-an-‘unusual’-voice front. Anni Rossi however, appears to be a far more interesting proposition. A classically trained musician from a young age, Rossi first caused a stir on the internet (where else?) with her startling take on Radiohead’s ‘Creep’. Rockwell, her debut LP, clocks in at just under half an hour, and – despite a few moments of genuine promise – feels more like a collection of demos than an album proper.
Rossi has drawn some (rather pre-emptive) comparisons with Joanna Newsom and Regina Spektor, but I’m afraid her music pales sharply when placed alongide such illustrious company. Almost every song on ‘Rockwell’ eschews the usual verse/chorus/verse structure in favour of a non-linear dynamic, and often feel sporadic and jarring. Even on repeated listens, the songs that make up Rockwell feel as though they’ve simply been cobbled together, lacking any real depth or substance.
Rossi is undoubtedly a talented musician, as the complex arrangements on songs like ‘The West Coast’ and ‘Living in Danger’ amply demonstrate. It is the spasmodic nature of her songs (and their extreme brevity) that result in the listener being left feeling both frustrated and a little short-changed. Tempos vary wildly within songs that are a little over two minutes in length; just as you’re enjoying a violin interlude or a sweetly sung couplet the song suddenly dives off in another direction, never really knowing where it is heading.
A self-proclaimed ‘wunder-kid’, Rossi is obviously not short on confidence. ‘Rockwell’, produced by Steve Albini, was recorded in just one day. You’ll find yourself wishing she’d spent a little longer on it…
Words: Mark Williamson