Annie Crane’s voice is abrasive, rounded and difficult to get on board with; it’s a true folk/Americana voice with many Celtic leanings. It’s a good thing that she’s chosen to stick with the folk genre as anything else would be glaringly unfitting. Her voice takes as much getting used to as Rufus Wainwright’s or Antony (from Antony and the Johnsons). Unfortunately, Crane’s vocal style is so strikingly similar throughout Jump With a Child’s Heart, that it can occasionally grate on the listener’s ear. Thankfully though, she plays to her strengths by including a mere nine tracks on the album, all written specifically for the yearning of the lovelorn voice, and no track exceeding four minutes. I harp on the sound of her voice mainly because if you are not prepared for something odd and from left field, you will most definitely disregard the album completely, which would be a shame because it’s quite beautifully poetic.
The production is sparse, never overreaching its grasp, and charmingly accented by lo-fi guitar strums, string arrangements and soft backing vocals. Content wise, it’s typical alt-country fare, mainly on the side of sorrow with occasional glimpses of hope. Tracks such as “You & Me & The Evergreen” and “Copenhagen Heart” are lovely tracks that showcase the strong songwriter that Annie can be. There are occasional missteps. “Money Only Hates Me” is Crane’s attempt to be quirky and funny, but her straight-on delivery of the lyrics makes the song awkward, and makes it difficult to decipher if she’s being sincere or tongue-in-cheek. Missteps aside, Jump With a Child’s Heart is carefully and lovingly crafted, and a perfect addition right next to records by Kathleen Edwards, Patty Griffin, and Lucinda Williams.
// Notes from the Road
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