Anika Moa is not one to be tied to any one genre: folk, pop, rock, electronica – she’s stylistically restless and adventurous.
‘Anika Moa’ is her sixth solo album, recorded in New Orleans in a former Presbyterian Church with a cast of crack local musicians (including Doug Pettibone and Tony Blake) co-opted by her drummer and co-producer Brady Blade.
This time she’s used an Americana angle to channel her songs, which cover love (Fire of her Eyes), bitterness (Heavy Head), and the story of the day she met her father (1993).
While ‘Anika Moa’ relies on a guitar-based sound (acoustic, electric, and slide), Heavy Head is underpinned by moody piano chords, which only highlight the darkness of the song, where she sings of regret and self-loathing.
It’s a hard listen, and one of the best songs she’s written. Buttercup, conversely, brings the breezy pop touch she is known for, as does the deceptively bright, upbeat To be Young, To be Sad.
Moa uses her calling card, her voice, in a slightly lower register this time, and this adds to the heart-on-sleeve emotion which colours every track.
As an artist who has always confronted her life head-on in her music, there’s an unvarnished, expressive truth throughout ‘Anika Moa’, and the album is an understated and beautiful collection of songs that rank among her best.