The major record label system is a funny place. Where some acts shine and some don’t take off like rockets, it’s the latter who seem to almost always have the last laugh. After her debut came out through Columbia, Alexandra Savior was released from her contract after the album didn’t do as the label had hoped. Lucky for us she was soon snapped up by Danger Mouse’s 30th Century imprint. What transpires next is her new release The Archer. From open to close you should feel an atmospheric surrounding of notes, a retro sound that’s closest to if Nancy Sinatra played with Portishead as her backing band; and an album where the songs all make their own mark and stay with you well after you hear them.
The way the album opens gives way to Savior’s vocals. The piano lead track let’s her voice be the beacon, and it gets things going appropriately. Though limited on instrumentation, the song has an atmospheric tone that follows throughout the album. While this gets followed up with a mod induced sound with “Saving Grace,” the way the song is constructed is pretty flawless. While having a bit of a throwback grace, the song still thrives on its own. The vocals are more falsetto here, showing off Savior’s strengths as a singer.
While “Send Her Back” has its own vibe where keys and drums lay above a bass line, again the vocals just pull you closer like a siren from the sea. “The Phantom” is similar in that it has its own construction, mixing past graces with current structures. Savior shines between the instrument’s notes, creating a swirl of airy sounds that are extraordinary in their representation. The vignette type of sounds that encapsulate the album are like no one else, while touching on the past at times.
And while we adore the pulsating strengths of “Howl” and the grandiose and bombastic swoons of “But You,” we couldn’t help but love every note of “Crying All the Time.” There’s a lot here, a lot to unpack. The trip hop moments mixed with swan song stride. The almost vintage sound of the instruments and the distress in Savior’s voice all lend to an intriguing overall sound. The song even has a theremin and a choral backing vocal that adds to the mix, as Alexandra Savior treads her own path. The album is one of the prettiest and best arranged albums we’ve heard in a long time, and it could even be a contender for a best of the year, even this early into 2020.
The Archers is available to stream wherever you stream music or to purchase digitally from wherever you download it. The album is also available physically directly from 30th Century Records. Alexandra Savior is on tour starting February 12 in Portland, OR at McMenamins until May 24 in Nottingham, UK at Dot To Dot Festival. Her complete tour schedule is accessible here.
Image Credits: Photo by Laura Lynn Petrick.