Anya Marina: Felony Flats
Anya Marina is an artist who has received exposure through television shows. You know that song – maybe you heard it in the background of your weekly sitcom, you nodded your head, commented to whoever was with you, “Hey this song really captures this particular emotional moment. Remind me to download it.” For most people though, it stops there, until they hear the song again. So it’s difficult to talk about how timeless the music even is if it can’t compel you to make that big commitment to buy it.
On Felony Flats, the singer/songwriter recruited a batch of indie rocks biggest players (Cody Votalato of Blood Brothers, Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse, and Blitzen Trapper’s Eric Early) to self-produce an extremely ambitious album. First impressions are slightly unfair: the solid, aggressive guitar and bittersweet vocals combine to give a slight resemblance to angst. The jumble of professional musicians and varied vocal styles produce a fragmented album that left me thinking, oh this sounds like, and that sounds like.
Marina has range enough. “Body Knows Best” shows a deep front woman style reminiscent of Garbage. “Believe Me I Believe” feels like a sparse cousin of Trent Reznor, and songs like “Hot Button” have the quirky pop feel of Lykke Li. That’s to say, the album doesn’t leave a strong impression of Anya Marina. Her talent is obvious, and she can definitely sing with some range, but her creativity is lacking.
Something is there though. The quirky pop and sparse instrumentation work best, as the angst-y rock songs come across as generic. Knowing that her music has been heavily televised as soundtrack for scripted love scenes and tragic separations alters the way the album is listened to, but Marina seems to have tried to do her best job to avoid producing anything that would be just plugged in and then glossed over. Felony Flats, is a musically confused album that can’t settle on one style, but provides Marina with a good opportunity to show off how her vocals can fit into any aural space.