A wonderful person recommended Anna Dagmar to me (see it pays to send me recommendations!) who as a relatively unknown singer/songwriter, has more craft, soul and passion than a lot of the top bods in music crammed together. “Let the Waves Come in Threes” is a fantastic album.
The title track opener is a full river of flowing piano riffs and beautiful celtic tinges and rolling percussion. Anna’s vocals have a certain wise country layer to them, especially with the strings, piano and vocals making a harmonious triad swiftly taking you away. A fabulous opening track.
“Amazed” has a more country twang with the wining country guitar softly playing with the electric piano and hushed percussion. Anna’s vocals here have a really nice tone and dexterity to them and it makes the track feel very honest. “Welcome Stranger” is more like an alternative waltz. It’s quirks with clumsy strings and clunky beats give the verses a happy-go-lucky glow and then when the chorus’ burst through, its like a ray of sunshine each time. Anna shows here that you can be a female pianist singer/songwriter without having to scream and shout your way through an album to be effective (not that screaming and shouting is a bad thing, its just nice to hear someone sincere and just as effective).
“We’re All Right Now” is interesting as it starts off like a piano/vocal ballad and develops into a middle-road alternative love song with a brass interlude. It’s very late Sarah McLachlan actually, but much cleaner and the interlude sections are quite refreshing to hear. “Smile for Free” turns up the pace a bit more with rumbling piano tumbles and any song that has the lyric “he’s the master of the chocolate egg cremes” automatically gets two thumbs up – but the track is a great dreamy piano pop number. Contrasted with the much darker “Words are Easy” which is full of minor keys and underplayed sympathetic strings and basses. Anna shows her diversity by being able to transition from dreamy pop to more dark fairytale introspections effortlessly. “Brick by Brick” changes things again with a string/vocal track with some excellent arrangements and is able to straddle the line of sadness and oh-well reflection perfectly. “Daydream” is a beautiful waltz track that really encapsulates Dagmar’s slightly adult-edgy Disney lullabye side of the album. It’s a great track and feels warm and homely without ever walking into familiar and mainstream. Disney may not be the right word for it, but the last section of songs remind me of the sad lonely songs that the baddies sing when they’re down and out – but just redressed for an AAA artist.
“Shadow of a Doubt” is the funkiest track on the album and possibly my favourite along with the title track. The riff and main tune is infectious and slinky, it’s like you’re the actual shadow having the hide under the searchlights. Everything points to seesy black and white crime caper movies from the 30’s and the track is dripping in character and punch. “Brown Trees” is a wonderous track. Basically piano and vocal but with all kinds of guitar aftereffects layered into the background, it’s very intimate and I like the fact it takes its time and isn’t really stuck in its time signiture. It has that live feel to it and therefore feels more raw and emotional.
“She’s Got It In Her Soul” brings us to almost jazz fusion with drum sticks, electic piano and ringing guitars. This track is almost bum wiggleable! However by half way the song has transformed into possibly the rockiest the album ever gets. Let the Waves… never becomes loud at any time but this will be the only guitar solo you’ll get close to here. Finally the album closes with the mesmorising “Can We Be Old Friends?” which is the best ballad on the album by far. From the background vocals and the close up piano recording the song has that extra film of heart pouring out of it. I think it’s because it embraces a Celtic undertone which gives it a more otherworld texture.
Anna Dagmar is quite unique in some ways. “Let the Waves Come in Threes” is a very hard album to pigeon hole. It’s very composed and so if you’re looking for angst and growling, you’ll be left wanting. However, there is a certain filmic quality about almost every song that you could easily place it in a specific scene of a movie and you could tell the story without needing any words. Anna is best recommended for people who will enjoy their indie music in a whimsical but compelling fashion, and for that type of music, Ann Dagmar is definately one lady to look forward to hearing more from.