28th April 2017
The Lonely Cry Of Space And Time
1. The Lonely Cry Of Space And Time / 2. Collateral / 3. Burn For You / 4. Last Exit / 5. Sylvia / 6. Meteor / 7. Follow Me / 8. If You Were The Sun / 9. Wedding Vow / 10. Wishing Well / 11. By Morning
Anna Coogan has been preparing for this moment her whole life, ever since she was a girl growing up in Boston, MA, influenced by her classical opera training and her father's protest albums by Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan. After several efforts with her Pacific Northwest-based alt-country band north 19, a pair of well-received indie solo releases (2010's The Nocturnal Among Us and 2012's The Wasted Ocean) and a collaboration with producer JD Foster (2014's Birth of the Stars), Coogan's latest, The Lonely Cry Of Space And Time, is a stylistic breakthrough. The album, a virtual two-person effort which features Willie B (Brian Wilson) on drums and Moog bass, combines Coogan's three-octave soprano vocals, electric guitar soundscapes and pointed social commentary into a fierce cohesive piece which combines the personal and the political, in a musical hybrid of rock, country, pop and classical opera into a unique whole. Her new direction was born from her series of performances in her adopted hometown of Ithaca, NY, in which Anna and Willie B created live musical accompaniments for vintage silent films. The title track for the album – with its praise for scientific reason and rationality and its intimations of extraterrestrial life – was originally composed to accompany Soviet filmmaker Jakov Protazanov’s campy 1929 Aelita, Queen of Mars, which likened an alien invasion to the Russian Revolution. The inspiration was the discovery of gravitational waves by a group of researchers, with an actual audio sample included at the very end. 'I'm optimistic whenever there's a news story that doesn't involve death and destruction,' says Anna, revealing that one of her relatives was part of the team that unearthed the sounds. Anna explains that much of the apocalypse-now-fueled The Lonely Cry Of Space And Time was written and recorded during the run-up to the historic 2016 election, a reaction to such hot-button topics as inflammatory campaign rhetoric ('Collateral'), the implicit threats to immigration ('Wishing Well'), the environment (the title track) and Middle East unrest (the first single, 'Burn For You'). There have been many attempts at rock opera in the past, but The Lonely Cry Of Space And Time is something different. Call it operatic rock, a genre previously explored by the likes of Kate Bush, Jane Siberry, Lene Lovich, Yoko Ono and Freddie Mercury, among others. As a guitarist, think of her rubbery, pneumatic, wah-wah sound like a combination of PJ Harvey, Courtney Barnett and her personal favorites, Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot. Just as Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' and Sly and the Family Stone's 'There's a Riot Going On' were steeped in the tumultuous 60s, Anna Coogan's The Lonely Cry Of Space & Time is inextricably linked to the flammable present. 'Oh let the oceans rise/To the shining skies,' she sings. 'I will burn for you.' On this extraordinary album Anna Coogan does just that, providing a shiny ray of hope for a world seemingly bent on self-destruction, deftly weaving the personal and political into a yin-yang hybrid.