'It All Starts With One' is the 'latest' release from Norwegian born, Stockholm resident Ane Brun. Her 8th album has been longer in coming than intended due to touring commitments with Peter Gabriel. That matters little now. The wait has been more than worth it as this is certainly Ane's most complete and accomplished work to date. The depth, tone, arrangement, production, writing and, above all, astonishing variety to be found on 'It All Starts With One' are incredible.
The album is available in many formats but I would implore you to get the 2 disc addition. It would be a travesty for you and for music were you not to invest that little extra. There are many casualties of the current economic downturn, don't let one of them be missing out on the 8 extra tracks available here. Squeeze that tea bag harder, buy own brand, forget takeaways, tell the kids the cinema's shut, treat yourself to an early birthday present, whatever it takes just buy the 18 track version; it's got a lot, if not most, of the best bits. (That's not to say you'd be in any way disappointed with just having disc one, it is a great record and you can't miss what you haven't heard etc., but...).
'These Days' with its cascading drum rolls, muted bass lines and minimalist piano arrangement sets the scene to an invigorating journey sound tracked by one the most enchanting and intoxicating vocals you're likely to hear this year. 'Words'' "help change the world in only one verse" works through the rain dropped piano notes and Ane's exquisitely beautiful intonation before a fabulous duet, 'Worship', with Jose Gonzales incorporates cinematic strings and introverted cyclical beats to compliment the two wonderfully paired voices. The single 'Do You Remember?' then ups the beat with a tribal Bow Wow Wow percussive edge and sassy, more commercially framed, vocal interpretation. Pertinent questions are raised in 'What's Happening With You And Him' as Ane's skilful dissection and exposure of relationship failings and frailties is shown to be something of her forte. The theatrical, camp and cabaret drama of 'One' adds another dimension before the first disc is closed out, penultimately by the sentimental layered harmonies of 'Oh Love' and finally by the initial simplicity and ultimate fragility of 'Undertow'.
The 'bonus', or deluxe edition, disc is brought to life by the stripped back and mesmeric lullaby of 'Dirty Windshield' before a folk infused Devendra like 'Take It Slow' steers a more Country driven route. Up next an album highlight is delivered in the form of 'One Last Try'. The plinky-plonk piano, pulsating vocal and wonderful lyrical gems maintain your focus throughout "And even if a butterfly lives a hundred years, Or the stream of water turns around in the river, you and me will still be the same." The marvelling continues on the superbly captured bar room barnstormer 'Queen and King'. The Scandinavian version of Deep South, Gospel inspired bluesy revelry is a fabulous, unexpected delight. The two other significant tracks of note here are Ane's sympathetic and triumphant cover of Antony And The Johnson's 'Another World' and the agonisingly arranged 'I Would Hurt A Fly'. This is one of, if not the, best tracks on 'It All Starts With One'. Ane's voice is somewhat more tortured and disturbed and as such makes the track even more devastatingly severe. Each time you think she's building to unleash pure pent up emotion, when the vocal explosion seems imminent, she draws back, manages to have enough restraint and will power to stop herself and in so doing leaves the listener on a knife edge, just waiting for a crescendo or a rousing finale that never happens. It's a brilliantly composed and constructed piece of teasingly theatrical suspense.
'It All Starts With One' is a wonderful album from Ane Brun. The multi-textured, string laden, angelically harmonic and artistically crafted set is full of top quality songs throughout. With touches of Regina Spektor, Basia Bulat and even Natasha Khan to be heard in Ane's voice, you can't fail to be hooked by such an intriguing, individual talent. Her songwriting and musicianship is as good as her voice and Tobias Froberg, the producer, has done a sterling job in bringing the whole album together. Forget the night out, buy the album and have a night in instead.
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