With Indie Pop having absolutely exploded over the past decade, anyone setting out to win listeners over with the once rarefied style needs to have honed their melodic hooks with deadly precision to even hope to stand out from the crowd. Stepping away from indie-folksters Frontier Ruckus to pen a solo debut rooted in the altogether different style of sprightly, hook-heavy indie, Anna Burch by-and-large impressively shifts styles. Her solo debut is a well crafted collection of lovelorn songs executed with the jangling overtures of a compact Indie Rock outfit yet written with the snappy, instantaneous approach of a pop artist.
The clean, ringing guitar chords of ‘2 Cool 2 Care’ set the tone for the forty minutes to follow. Chord progressions and vocal lines stay firmly within the time-tested boundaries of Indie heritage and they’re in many ways simplistic, but they certainly don’t lack impact. The straightforward accessibility of the ‘Quit The Curse’ is a large part of its appeal. Sonically the album sticks to the style’s usual blueprint: bright rhythm guitars, four-to-the-floor drums, root-note baselines and a touch of Fender reverb are the record’s bred-and-butter. However, Burch keeps proceedings reasonably varied from a musical standpoint predominantly through a fairly wide range of tempos. For instance, the sprightly-pace of the album’s title track is immediately followed-up by the mid-pace chug of ‘Asking 4 A Friend’. Burch even adds swaying pedal-steel guitar into the mix with the lethargic melancholy of ‘Belle Isle’, something of a surprisingly left-turn compared with the consistent palette found throughout ‘Quit The Curse’.
Whilst from a sonic perspective ‘Quit The Curse’ doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it does pay an authentic homage to the stalwarts of the genre and the performances are convincing enough to allow the album to pass-off its traditional approach well. If the ‘Quit The Curse’s appeal doesn’t especially come from the arrangements, then, it lies more within the melodies themselves. Burch demonstrates an admirable knack for writing compulsive hooks throughout the record and it’s in the frequently infectious choruses that ‘Quit The Curse’ impresses the most. The spotless melodic hook permeating ‘In Your Dreams’ giving the song an acute impact it likely wouldn’t have otherwise had.
Lyrically, the ‘Quit The Curse’ does stumble somewhat. Burch’s depictions of lovesick frustration and – at times – bitter resentment are certainly relatable for many and they do, admittedly, paint a vivid and sometimes compelling picture. Having said that, the repetitive, rather one-note tone of the lyrical themes throughout the record does hamper it and, had the lyrical themes explored on the album been more varied, the overall impact would likely have been greater.
Nevertheless, ‘Quit The Curse’ is a well constructed, likeable Indie Pop album that offers a series of catchy, immediate songs imbued with the sort of satisfying, punchy song-craft that has proved so popular over the course of this decade.
The full track listing for the album is…
1. 2 Cool 2 Care
2. Tea-Soaked Letter
3. Asking 4 a Friend
4. Quit the Curse
5. Belle Isle
6. In Your Dreams
7. What I Want
8. Yeah You Know
9. With You Every Day