Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Anna Madorsky enchants with Incantation

December 11, 2009

Brutal honesty moment from the critic: looks matter. If you’ve got a cool name, cool art, or a cool one-sheet, I’m going to be much more likely to listen to your album than not. It’s simply a feature of listening to so much music. If you’ve got a stack of thirty albums, all of which you’ve never heard of, you’re going to want to pick one somehow. And you’re going to want to pick one that’s good. So, instead of listening to one track from every CD, the visuals mediate. Because someone who puts lots of attention into their visuals is going to pay attention to the details of their music. Just a note for all the aspiring artists out there.

That’s inspired because Anna Madorsky hooked me with her art and then doubly hooked me with the genre name “dream-punk.” Liking dream-pop and punk, I thought I’d give “dream-punk” and listen and see what it sounds like. Even though Incantantion doesn’t exactly live up to the dream-punk title, it is a solid dream-pop release.

Punk insinuates that there’s going to be some amount of attitude and upbeat tempos. While there is a little bit of the punk attitude through the lyrics, there’s absolutely no punk tempos or strumming. Keys compose the bulk of this album, and they do a fine job of making the songs incredibly dreamy. “Broken Artifact” has the dreamy synths and a Portishead-type beat to boot, making an incredibly entertaining dream-pop song.

But there’s more than just synth sweeps and swoops. Madorsky’s vocals are plucky and clear, giving personality to the songs. She has a clear vision for her lyrics, whether storytelling (“Clinic”) or confessing (“Change”). Madorsky has a clear vision for pretty much everything inside Incantation; there’s not a misplaced moment. Everything is precise and clear, which makes for an incredibly easy and enjoyable listening experience. From the industrial-lite “Rhea” to the 808 beats of “Good Ideas” to the Kelly Clarkson-styled power-pop of “Therapist’s Office”, the songs are diverse but still hang together.

Anna Madorsky’s Incantation is a diverse, engaging album of dream-pop. Madorsky’s songwriting skills are made more impressive by her ability to replicate the best parts of multiple genres and incorporate them into her own dreamy amalgam. Highly recommended for fans of Portishead, Bjork, and others the ilk.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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