The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


A review of the album 'Singing From The Grave' by Anna von Hausswolff

Anna von Hausswolff  SInging From The GraveReview Snapshot: Swedish singer/songwriter Anna Von Hausswolff aims to impress with her debut album “Singing from the Grave”. Light sweeping piano compositions and convincingly powerful vocals provide a strong opening, with first single ‘Tracks of Time’ proving to be the highlight of the record, one that is never quite matched. A record of potential that doesn't fully deliver.

The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10

Full Review: 'Singing from the Grave’ is the first release from Swede Anna Von Hausswolff, a sometime architect student, who has become one of the most talked about artists emerging from the Nordics. She began her venture into the world of music alone in her apartment with compositions vocally and on the piano, before eventually expanding to a recording studio.

Though her expressive vocal give the impression of someone far beyond her 23 years, she sways from almost whisper to beckoning choruses with ease. Hers is a niche currently occupied by such artists as Laura Marling and Regina Spektor and it remains to be seen if indeed she can compete with these more established singer/songwriters.

The vocal on the opening track ‘Move On’ starts slightly shakily, taking a few seconds to fully sync with the trailing piano. At barely over two and a half minutes, it seems to cut to an awkward uncertain ending something that appeared to be building to a powerful finish.

In contrast first single ‘Tracks of Time’ starts slowly building to the perfectly timed inclusion of Von Hausswolff's vocals, bursting past the simplistic piano, swelling larger and larger. The inclusion of the instrumental chorus only serve to highlight what should be a magnificent finish. Once again however, the track simply trails off in somewhat tangled confusion.

In the following tracks Von Hausswolff attempts to exhibit her vocal range, with some success and some failure. ‘Pills’ manages on both fronts, opening the track in the high octaves that almost spoil the lyrical beauty of the song itself. Like many albums the stronger tracks have been front-loaded leaving the final half of the album somewhat deficient. This is most notable on closing track ‘I am Leaving’, a song that begins and ends with minimal notice or fanfare, which has the unfortunate result of allowing the album to end in a similar fashion.

In this record flashes of true passion come in waves, flooding the listener's ear, with genuine emotion and empathy. It is however these moments that only serve to highlight its absence for a significant portion of the record. At only nine tracks long the quality of songs included could be expected to be of a more constant quality, instead the album often lulls where it should be gathering momentum.

All in all this is an album that demonstrates much potential, potential however has not yet been fully reached. 

Katie Murphy

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Nuggets from our archive

2008 - A comprehensive guide to recording an album, written by Andy Knightly (the guide is spread over 4 parts).