In the modern music era, many singer songwriters can come and go like the passing of time. While we somehow didn’t review the latest album I Saw First Light by Anna McClellan when it was released, we’re making up for that now. McClellan is like no other singer songwriter perhaps by the fact that her songs sound like little vignettes in time. Or perhaps its that the music is heartfelt and not fraudulent, it stands out in a good way. In a sea of artistry that can feel trite, I Saw First Light is a shining beacon for what singer songwriters should all aspire to be.
The opening track “Con S Sewer” is a great example of standing out in the best way possible. Lead by piano, the song has an upbeat pacing that interludes with various instruments like the violin that help escalate McClellan’s honest vocals. However it’s how the song is constructed that makes it so extraordinary. There are moments where you think you know what’s coming next only to be surprised by what you’re delivered. This continues throughout the album. “Raisin” doesn’t have a traditional opening nor would you expect it. However you get a catchy and engaging song that feels real and without pretension. “Feel You” has this acoustic that opens the song before stabs of keys, electric guitar and bass make their way in without sounding disjointed.
The sorcery here comes with the arrangements and the upfront songwriting. As if the songs were composed just moments before being recorded, there’s an honesty here that feels raw yet calm in how they become represented. McClellan isn’t just swinging for the park through honesty, she’s not holding back anything here. “Pace of the Universe” is like no other song you’ve heard before with these sprinkles of sound that play just underneath the vocals. “Gone” has touches of other genres but not enough to where you’ll remember them because what you hear is more engaging. The whole album is different yet relatable. Of the eleven songs “Veronica” is our favorite. There’s a whimsy to the stride of the song with male and female vocals, there’s a rock touch with the squealing guitar and no pause for being true to yourself in how the track plays out. It feels in the moment and real at every turn. But like we said, it’s different in a good way.
I saw first light is available to purchase on various formats and bundles from Father/Daughter Records. It’s also available to stream on all services or to purchase in all digital outlets.
Image Credits: Photo by Jccwa Faya.