An interesting, left-field thing – a throwback, really. Kansas City native Anna St. Louis makes her debut on a cassette-only release, something you don’t expect in this day and age. For someone who began her musical quest singing in punk bands, this is about as stripped down and subdued as one can get. The aptly titled First Songs is the sound of someone discovering their talent in real time — a peak into the collage of a wonderful mind absorbing their new surroundings and using new tools to put them into the room.
Of the eight songs in this collection, the opener, ”Wind-Up,” has a repetitive, almost bluesy riff that draws you in, hypnotically while she sings, ”I wanted to find the secret of this place/but I’m sitting here and it’s getting late”, which is an interesting observation; ”Sun,” aptly sparkles with its acoustic guitar and on-the-one harmonies and yet lyrically, it’s contradictory because there’s an element of despondency. ”Mercy” feels like it’s (consciously) on a leash but has some very clever psychedelic guitar figures layered over a sustained chord and “288” is just plain pretty while slightly angular and haunting.
Once again stepping out of my own wheelhouse, this is a very good and somewhat captivating debut from a new artist. That she chose the path to do this on cassette is something I will give her high marks for as it’s a no-to-low risk move (this isn’t the easiest business to market one’s self in nowadays).
Try and find a place in your heads for Anna St. Louis; I think you’ll find the room.
First Songs is currently available