I have been following the music of Anneli Marian Drecker since the 1980s, when she was the lead singer of the synth-pop band Bel Canto. The first three Bel Canto albums melded fairytale-themed lyrics, neoclassical and world music (mostly Middle-Eastern) influences to electronic music, over which Drecker’s dramatic coloratura swooped and fluttered. (Imagine a cross between the Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and Depeche Mode). Later Bel Canto albums drifted to a more 90s-era electronica sound, and Dreckers previous two solo albums were pretty much straight-forward pop.
Her new self-produced album, Rocks & Straws, is a triumphant return to her art-pop roots. From the press release:
Rocks & Straws is a homecoming album, an ode to her native town and region. The songs, all composed by Anneli, are based on lyrics by cult poet Arvid Hanssen and translated to English by artist and writer Roy-Frode Løvland. Hanssen´s poems are strongly influenced by the mysterious and powerful nature of this arctic region, like the writings of Knut Hamsun, born only a few miles from Hanssen´s birthplace.
Drecker’s voice is deepened to a lovely lyric alto, but she can still reach stunning soprano heights. The melodies she composed have actual hooks—this is accessible art pop. The album is warm, orchestral, and there is a jazzy noir vibe to some of the songs. Drecker’s piano playing is impressively delicate, like the faintest webbing of frost. Rocks & Straws belongs somewhere between the ethereality of Bjork’s Vespertine and Kate Bush’s whimsical 50 Words For Snow.
You can listen to one of song here: