Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
One of the beautiful things about Anna Ash's songs - of which there are many to choose from - is that she can make anyone feel like they're a tumbler, like they're tumbling. They can make the crazy love that you wish you had a handle on, but know damned well that you don't, feel like the whiteout blizzard that's taking place right now outside my window. It can make your head feel like a flurried garble, like a seemingly never-ending wall of snow drilling itself out of the frame, moving east and west like a fluffy freight train.
She can make the whiteout blizzard feel like it's happening to someone else, as long as you stay indoors, where the floors aren't covered in snow, anything like snow would melt on contact and the howling of the wind sounds like a muffled revolution that is never going to break in. She talks to the fire in the chimney that she's made. It talks back to her and, with a smoky hand, tries to keep her wine glass full until there are just no more bottles to uncork. It's only then that she'll haul her tipsy and exhausted body off to bed for the night. It's there where she can freeze that whiteout love in its place, where the perpetrators of its behavior can rest for a few hours. Ash writes about people who sound like they're going to fall into relationships that are going to quickly turn confusing, if they haven't already. They sound like they involve people who have been messing around for a while, talking shit and meaning some of it, saying some of it through the sides of their mouths.
Her style is something between the way Zooey Deschanel sings in her sweet, retro way on She & Him numbers and more along the lines of someone who's had to take out a restraining order or two in her lifetime already. She'd like a little romance and a late night slow dance, but she knows that it all could go south in a flash. Some of her stories end well and some of them don't, of which she sings about in the incredible song, "Just Like The Movies," offering, "Get wasted and start a fistfight/With your best friend/And tell him you don't ever want to talk to him again/You go running down the middle of the street/Cause you know it's never gonna be just like the movies."
These are people who might have their flights of fancy, but they're based in a realism that's been forced on them, that's been pounded into place by their disappointments and wayward hearts acting up. She sings about broken people who have a hard time keeping themselves in the paradises they think they've found for themselves. These places and the people in them tend to get messy, but never too messy - just enough.