Cocooned in a coy, wry musical smile comes Anna Burch’s first solo album Quit the Curse. After a few attempts with bands leaning towards a more folk sound, Burch as a solo act has found a spot in the quasi-pop world. Though it is clear that a few of the tracks in the album are lacking the confidence of other songs, there are a solid set of indie roots here that have settled into the ground. For a first honest attempt at finding her own voice, Burch has proved her independence, though the imbalance of the album is a bit bumpy along the way.
The beginning of the album is quite strong, producing sexy bass riffs and an assertiveness that successfully tries to prove a point. Burch is a veteran to the process, even if her confidence doesn’t always show it. There is a desire to go bigger and bolder because she is a clear talent. Crooning in a way similar to the late Dolores O’Riordan, Burch provides a fresh spin on the kind of indie rock heard in the 1990’s. It is quite clear that she knows what she’s doing: even if her monotone way of singing can get a little dull, harmonies come to the rescue. Moreover, once the bass swings around in the title track, we get more flavor and color. If this were a more sustained theme, perhaps the album would feel more together.
Lyrically, Burch is a blossoming writer, giving even the sweetest tooth a toothache with some of her more softball lines. There’s a certain simplicity in her words that make the album vanilla, and while this is acceptable, there’s a desire for more. Simple charm isn’t enough; listeners crave structure and simple similes. The most well-composed track comes at the tail end of the first half of the album. “Asking 4 A Friend” pokes into a more dynamic sound with personal and catchy lyrics. This goes to show that when Burch shows her confidence, good things happen.
After “Belle Isle”, a song reminiscent of a Patsy Cline standard, Quit the Curse stumbles to the end. Overall, the album feels as if it’s almost there, a half-alive version of what Burch is capable of. There are times when this album appears to be apologizing for itself, like it doesn’t want to take up too much room in a musical space that is packed to the brim with talent. This fear is what holds Quit the Curse back from being part of the new standard of indie-pop. However, when Burch begins to build off this groundwork, there is nothing that should be holding her back.