Survival limited deluxe CD edition.
Release date: 25th January 2010
Bonus disc 'Archaeology' features 10 exclusive songs and fragments
from the vaults.
“I was born when you kissed me, I died when you
left.” So begins the third album from Anna Kashfi, the
Manchester-based band named after Marlon Brando's first wife. She
was presumed to be an exotic Indian beauty who was later revealed
as the daughter of a Welsh steelworker and the duality and tragedy
of the real-life Anna Kashfi is a recurring feature of 'Survival'.
That sense of characters being vulnerable to the whims of the
world and circumstance, of the thin-line between existing and
being wiped-out forever.
Sian Webley is the voice behind these characters and she gives
them a life, a sadness and a wit that speaks volumes. In
'Drinker's Song' she reflects that “Time has pulled its killer
punch, Destroyed the gifts that made us drunk” and you can feel a
thousand alcohol-induced regrets stack up on the scales of a life.
Many of Webley's words unpick the conflicts between lovers and the
emotional battles played out in relationships, but she builds on
those games with 'Devil's Bridge'. A duet, of sorts, with Robert
Fisher of kindred spirits Willard Grant Conspiracy, the song
relates the story of how the townsfolk of a Tuscan town tricked
the devil into building their bridge for free. Fisher plays the
devil of course, superbly so.
Musically, 'Survival' is Anna Kashfi in widescreen. Where their
previous album ‘Procurement’ (Little Red Rabbit, 2008) moved in
slow motion through late-night laments and droning psychedelic
folk, on 'Survival' you can really feel producer/arranger James
Youngjohns testing how far he can push Webley's vocals. 'String
Loop' is built on exactly that and even features electronic
percussion before exploding into life whilst 'Red Rag Doll' kicks
up a bluegrass duststorm that puts most alt-country acts in the
shade. There's even space for an a capella number – 'Loser's
Prize' – on which four close-harmony voices assert that “Life is a
game that no-one can win”, a game where “An honest man loses out”.
Maybe, but with 'Survival', Anna Kashfi detail a victory worth
**** “A delicate mix, tailor made for the freak-folk world. Ace in
the hole is vocalist Sian Webley, a kind of folk Beth Gibbons.”
**** “Truly outstanding.”
*** “Literate, often menacing songs about love, sex and God. The
highlight is 'Devil's Bridge' with Willard Grant Conspiracy's
Robert Fisher voicing the devil in a devastating duet that's one
of the best of its kind since Nick Cave/Polly Harvey
DROWNED IN SOUND
"Mercurial genre-jumping. The duo explore jazz lullabies,
electro-bruised avant garde cinematics and Dolly Parton-esque
"Staggering. Their best record to date."
"Their great leap forward. It should catapult them onto the main
stage where they belong. 8/10."
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