Anna Burch has made a spirited return with her second full-length album: If You’re Dreaming, and during tough times such as these, it is exactly what we need! With vocals that are breezy and dreamlike, Burch soothes our souls, relieves our stress, and helps restore calm in an otherwise chaotic world. Each track is structured with melodies of hypnotic quality, and we find ourselves slowing down our minds and drifting elsewhere; its blissful sound is a comfort to our present situation.
If You’re Dreaming displays waves of gentleness and moments of quiet introspection; opening up before us like a lullaby. Where Burch’s 2018 solo-debut, Quit the Curse, was filled with jumpy folk-pop songs in which her vocals competed with the scratchiness of guitar riffs, If You’re Dreaming, introduces us to Burch’s new-found musical approach: letting her voice take centre-stage; it floats ever so slightly above the instrumentals, and in return, creates a smooth balance.
Album opener ‘Can’t Sleep’ immediately reveals this fresh direction with its soft rhythm and guitar accompaniment, allowing Burch’s vocals to stand out and the truthfulness in her lyrics to shine! ‘Jacket’, one of the many album highlights, has a similar effect on its listener, but with a cool sultriness.
Burch wrote this album after her return from intense touring, so it comes as no surprise that there are feelings of isolation and impermanence, as well as a longing for genuine interaction reflected throughout. She sings, “I’m so tired/I’m so tired/I’m so tired” in ‘Party’s Over’, revealing this mindset, which can mirror our own in regards to the anxieties of today. “You’re asking when will you come back to me/But I gotta stay away so I can clearly see.” In the age of social distancing, this is very much relatable!
We seem to be on an expedition deep into Burch’s soul, and with every pinch of melancholy, we get a dash of optimism and joy; just look to the uplifting ‘Not So Bad’. Burch may lend her voice to uncertainty and disconnection, but she is also pointing us towards the flicker of light at the end of the tunnel, and in this we can take solace.