Pox World Empire, a tiny label based in Durham, North Carolina, has been quietly putting out good music for years now. Anna Bullard’s debut album Split Heart is no exception. On it, the singer-songwriter thumbs through a flip book of no-nonsense folk tunes. They go by quick, but they find a way to stick in your head. The mid-tempo shuffle and warbly guitar in “Second Song” wouldn’t be out of place on a Mirah album, but when Bullard sings “I cannot take my eyes off him”, her voice is all Lucinda Williams. The Charlotte native sounds most at home on the album’s ballads. “Met you on the streets of college town / Wish I’d met you before / But I didn’t”, Bullard sings on the gorgeous “Sing Real Pretty”, her airy vocals sounding like a sweeter Julie Doiron. No one moment on Split Heart really reaches out and grabs you; instead, the album ends up being the best kind of background music, like a soundtrack for your daily comings and goings. Bullard is an artist to watch.
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