Anna B Savage: A Common Turn review – willing self-discovery that cut to the bone

A dramatic debut album that shows the singer’s vulnerability and focus

A Common Turn
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Artist: Anna B Savage
Genre: Alternative
Label: City Slang

What else could it have been but music for London’s Anna B Savage? Throughout her childhood she attended the Bach Proms at the Royal Albert Hall every year on her birthday because her parents, classical singers each, were always booked to perform at the event.

Soaking up all manner of influences in the meantime, six years ago Savage released her debut EP, which introduced a collage of sonorous voice, presence and songs that had few similarities to anything else. The success of the EP, however, triggered the wrong kind of response in the songwriter and singer: imposter syndrome, writer’s block, mental-health issues.

Her long-in-gestation debut album sees Savage back on target and right on track with 10 songs that place her post-EP years under a microscope. She cuts to the chase and to the bone with songs about escaping selfish toxic relationships (A Common Tern – “what do you love about me, I asked him . . . He said I love how much you love me. I shuddered . . .”) and embracing selfless female pleasure (the Leonard Cohen-referencing Chelsea Hotel #3 – “he was giving me head on my unmade bed, so I tried to stay focused…”).

Winter Nights

The end result is dramatic but not at the expense of willing self-discovery, something that ably manifests itself across an album that accedes to vulnerability, while also clearly showcasing how revitalised and re-focused Savage is.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture