1980 and all that: 2011

Anna Calvi

There are times, I said when writing about Maximo Park back in 2007, that I find myself stuck (not unpleasantly by any means) in a groove, listening to a single band day-in day-out for ages.

And so it came to pass that in 2011 I spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to Anna Calvi’s debut album. It was – and remains – utterly addictive, opening with a dramatic guitar-based instrumental, tinged with gothic brooding and a blues virtuosity and continuing with a dark, sinister edge throughout its ten sumptuous tracks.

‘Blackout’ comes in at number seven on the track listing. It gallops along, a frenetic joyride of a song, all pounding drums and gloriously jerking backing vocals while Ms Calvi acknowledges the conflict of her fear of and desire to embrace the darkness of a blackout (‘Voices, darkness is coming for my soul/Should I fear you or should I just let go?’).

It’s a spectacular song from a spectacular album. In 2011, the year of its release, it was shortlisted for the Mercury Award. And a strong contender it was – if only it hadn’t been for the damned impudence of P J Harvey releasing Let England Shake in the same year.

Music blogs, reviews and more