Star Anna exits the chute with a depth and feeling that seemingly defy her years (she’s only in her early 20s). Heartbreak and substance abuse season a second full-length album that sounds more like a seventh, crafted on a theme that Anna herself states perfectly: “Too many lifetimes and not enough years.”
The Only Thing That Matters comes close to stepping on the toes of fellow folk- and country-influenced acts like Brandi Carlisle, leaning occasionally on a wilting, languished vocal register. Then Anna’s punk past dances subtly in. A flourish of guitar or a crack in Anna’s voice quickly sets her music on a level not necessarily unique but undeniably engaging.
The artist clearly has something to say, about love and temptation and all the darker sides of her experience. She displays her emotions without hesitation, like fireflies in a jar, crooning such inconsolable lines as, “The hardest part of believing is trying to believe/when everything around you crumbles or leaves.”
All this effort might be lost if not for the Laughing Dogs, the trio that drives forward Anna’s lyrical and electric stylings. She’s a strong frontwoman with an equally talented band in step.
Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs play Sean Kelly’s Saturday, June 6, at 8 PM. Cover TBA.