The Sky Is Falling
Hindsight is always 20/20 they say, so making the decision to release her new album ‘The Sky Is Falling’ after the smoke cleared from a turbulent band breakup and subsequent self reinvention for Star Anna is a moment of artistic clarity. Recorded with some of her band The Laughing Dogs and her closest confidants, this is a 10-song collection of brooding melodramatic vocals and the reverb-soaked high lonesome sound that fans of Star Anna have come to love. It is easy to see why a record company exec would want to back from the album, as there isn’t quite a song to hang its hat on as a “single,” and as a whole it feels like a set of B-sides, but they each have powerful moments.
The all acoustic “Annie” opening track is a delicate anthem featuring marvelous cello from Barb Hunter and classical guitar arpeggios from former Laughing Dog Justin Davis, who appears on the entire album. Tye Baillie anchors the easy swing of “Easier To Shine,” with his compelling piano comping, while drummer Travis Yost chooses to soften the groove with brushes, leaving plenty of room for Star to use her full vocal range and dig deep into this ballad of self examination.
The tempo finally kicks in for “Let’s Not Kid Ourselves,” giving us the album title buried in a Tom Petty meets REM style rocker. Mark Pickerel joins Star for the sparkling duet, “Love Song” – amazing how artists like this can make such a sad song sound beautiful. The deathbed confessional “Little Voices,” is perfectly placed in a spacious arrangement of equal parts melancholy and joy. Tribal toms push the urgency of the chiming “Hymns We Sang,” and only a grunge city diva could deliver a heart wrenching lullaby as dark and dreamy as “Killing Time.”
The album closes with the apprehensively upbeat “Stranger Than Silhouettes,” with Star Anna delivering the prophetic line, “I’m tired of being of afraid of all the mistakes I’ve made.” It certainly would have been a mistake to keep this music on the shelf; thankfully that wasn’t one she made.
Rick J Bowen