With her second album, Felony Flats, singer/songwriter Anya Marina sidesteps the curse of cultural saturation thanks to a collection of solid songs.
The Portland-based recording artist saw her 2009 debut Slow and Steady Seduction: Phase II land with a splash. She followed up with a number of singles and found some tracks, like a cover of “Whatever You Like,” featured on television shows and in films. Her “Satellite Heart” was exposed to tween girls everywhere via the soundtrack for The Twilight Saga: New Moon, while other tracks found their way to 90210 and Gossip Girl.
While the aforementioned pop culture watermarks may not draw the attention of purists, Marina has a lot more to offer. Her slinky, sexy, “who me?” feel infuses Felony Flats, creating a not-so-innocent pastiche that rolls through all 10 songs.
The self-produced record features some pretty decent instrumental assistance, too. Guitarist Cody Votolato (Blood Brothers, Telekinesis), bassist Jeff Bond, drummer Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, Mister Heavenly), and keyboardist/guitarist Eric Earley (Blitzen Trapper) provide a musical foundation for Marina’s elegant ways.
Comparisons to the likes of Lana Del Rey seem imminent, but Anya Marina is more direct with her Lolitaesque tendencies. Whereas LDR coyly seems bored by the whole affair, Marina is more eager to please and her music is somewhat more euphoric.
“Notice Me,” for instance, speaks ever-so-slightly to that desire to be seen. It features a poppy guitar punch and a summery sing-along chorus that is slightly buried in the mix.
Things shift gears entirely with the slinky, raw electro-pop of “Believe Me I Believe.” The track punches like something off of Madonna’s latest and Marina almost purrs through it as the music jacks up. The drum fills are electric and the sex appeal is through the roof.
Marina hits the electric guitar gear with a punky edge on “Flinty,” a cut that sounds like Nirvana all tuned up and polished. It’s a nice touch and it illuminates her diversity without deserting the fundamentals.
With Felony Flats, Marina proves that she’s more than a flavour of the month. While the targeted inundation of her career’s course thus far may turn some off, a trace of what she’s up to on this record should turn them right back on again.