Photo by Hannay Gray Hall
In poet and songwriter Anne Malin’s “Summer Angel,” tales of love and violence intersect in dreamlike soundscapes. Conceived in response to the poem “Summer Angel” by Alfred Starr Hamilton and Marianne Faithfull’s rendition of Morrissey’s “Dear God Please Help Me,” Anne Malin sings with childlike wonder and a sense of harrowing indictment, playing with the lyric as a multilayered tool for self-expression and self-protection alike.
“Summer Angel" wields prisms in the face of sexual abuse and its nonlinear aftermath, asking: what is healing, what is self-harm, and what might freedom look like? These songs, brought into full form with collaborators Will Ringwalt-Johnson, Trevor Nikrant, Jake Smith, DJ Young, and JayVe Montgomery, reveal Anne Malin’s fluid vocal range: capable of operatic force and cutting delivery, and confident in navigating the grey areas in between.
Echoing Henry Mancini and Songs: Ohia in equal measure, “Summer Angel” is Anne Malin’s most ambitious project yet. Produced by Andrija Tokic (Josephine Foster, Alabama Shakes) at the Bomb Shelter in Nashville, TN, Anne Malin and her collaborators worked with ease and humor, benefiting from Tokic’s vibrant conceptions of the songs. Tokic embraced an inappropriateness in production, collaging sounds—from saxophone, pedal steel, and orchestral percussion, to name a few—with agile nonchalance.
The band, chosen for their breadth of experience with song-form genres as well as fully improvised music, dynamically constructed sonic environments around the initial live tracking. Anne Malin, committed to one-take vocal delivery during the band’s live tracking, similarly embraced the possibilities of improvisation and the many shapes a song can take.
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