June 7, 2012

CD Review: With new band, Anna Lombard tries some new sounds on for size

'River Girl' is an example of local talent bursting at the seams, with one complication: a small case of identity crisis.

By KRISTIN DiCARA-McCLELLAN

Anna & The Diggs' new five-song EP, "River Girl," is another example of local talent bursting at the seams, with one complication: a small case of identity crisis. The band consists of former members of the defunct Gypsy Tailwind, featuring frontwoman Anna Lombard. At first listen to this EP, it is clear that they want to get far away from the Americana/alt-country label that Gypsy had, veering instead toward rock, pop and blues.

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HOW IT RATES

ANNA & THE DIGGS -- "RIVER GIRL"

PRODUCED BY Jonathan Wyman

***

-- Based on a four-star scale

The first track, "To Feel Alive," captures some experimental song structure plug-ins that go flat at times. Still, I had the chorus-y lines "I wanted to be your girl to travel around the world/ I wanna climb up a mountain high and lay down a valley low" swimming in my head for a while.

Track No. 2, "Taste," stands out on a rock edge and harkens back to the '80s. Lombard's rockin', belt-it-out pipes were reminiscent of Patty Smyth, even down to her intonations of ending notes. But I could have gone for a more crunchy, thick guitar sound along with the harder-edged rock vocals.

The closing tracks, "Are You OK?" and "How Will I Know," are more cohesive. More laid-back, they fill a certain bill for listeners who like a rolling, gentle rock vibe. It's consistent with the sounds of bands like Zero 7 and Over the Rhine, with some lovely spacey organ and sweet electric guitar licks.

Anna & The Diggs have proven on this EP that Lombard has the voice and songwriting potential to fit into many genres, but they may have been too eager to define who they are. But let's give these talented musicians a break: The songs are all experimental dips from the known to the unknown. It will be exciting to see where they will eventually plant their feet, grow some roots and "dig" in.

Kristin DiCara-McClellan is a local freelance writer. She can be reached at:

kjoydmac@yahoo.com

 

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