Although ‘Quit the Curse’ is Anna Burch’s debut album, the Detroit-based singer/songwriter has already established her talent by cutting her teeth playing with Frontier Ruckus and Failed Flowers. Now signed to Polyvinyl in the States and Heavenly in the UK, many more people are going to be left spellbound by the combination of angst-ridden confessions, slyly dark humour and gorgeous pop hooks on these nine songs.
The alt-rock guitar of ‘2 Cool 2 Care’ opens the album as Anna talks about using up a friend’s meds and how she isn’t interested in the love she’s been told she ‘should be dreaming of’. This kind of honesty is an indicator of what is to come elsewhere on the album, especially when Anna claims: ‘I like you best when you’re a mess’. The recent single ‘Tea-Soaked Letter’ follows this and this time round Ana is regretting faking her feelings over jaunty hooks. Following this is ‘Asking 4 a Friend’, a paranoid account of scoring drugs, complete with effects-laden guitar: ‘Is it the same stuff you had last time? It made me lose my mind’. The title track has a more country feel but mixes it up with some soulful moments that bring to mind Basia Bulat as Anna admits ‘kissing you again would probably break me’. The song then takes a despondent turn as she reveals the person she fell for now has all the power again and she has them stuck in their head.
This contrasts perfectly with the slide guitar-laden ‘Belle Isle’ as Anna talks about running away and finding someone new, but what if this new-found happiness was only fleeting: ‘We danced to that song twice in a row and I can’t let go’. Anna said writing the songs that make up this album was a cathartic experience and helped her move on from tough times and this attitude inspires ‘Yeah You Know’, a sub-3-minute Built to Spill-meets-Best Coast-esque song where she demands: ‘I’ll let go if you say so’. She then recalls driving to a mixtape that raises excitement before being let down by her suitor not picking up the phone. The final ‘With You Every Day’ is a piece of alt-folk that could be inspired by early-2000s legends The Moldy Peaches and Brendan Benson: ‘You’re sweet, like a little kid whose family’s well adjusted’. There are layers of harmonies, brooding bass and echoed vocals as Anna opens up: ‘I’m nice. I’m too nice to you. Now what else can I do when there’s nothing more to say and I’m still with you every day’. It sums up a relationship with no future and the spirit of this startling break-up and moving-on album.