Luck / Time
I have one problem with this near-perfect album. Unfortunately it’s quite a big problem. Anna Coddington’s third full-lengther is lovingly created – the performances are sublime and it pounces from the speakers. Its actual sonic is exquisite – the strings on Till The Leaves Fall Down give it an almost Motown feel and Coddington nearly hits into Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 territory with the vocal. The playing on this album is ridiculously good. These huge, warm bass-lines that push and poke the songs into place, stretching the corners out as if a canvas unfolding. When you’ve got Chris O’Connor on the drums you’ve got a great sounding record too. Maybe even just for that. Add some production nous from SJD and Jol Mullholland.
Coddington is a great singer – and though this is no doubt a million miles from what she wants to be doing my belief is that she should be fronting a group. Heck, even a covers group. She would slay. She’s got the chops for that and would nail it. I mean that sincerely.
My problem with Luck / Time is that I don’t hear any great songwriting. This is about the cruellest thing you can say to a songwriter too. So I’m aware of that. It’s not said lightly. It’s just how I’m hearing it – others might tell you they like The Runner for its groove or Release Me with the staccato clips of hi-hat and percussion, little guitar stabs in there too. But nothing really resonates for me. Not outside of the performances. This is, in the end, a set of quite extraordinary performances. But those performances are of some rather mediocre songs.
Coddington’s luck has arrived, I reckon, in the fact that Anika Moa seems done with writing songs – so a part of Anika’s audience can get what they wanted from what Anna is now doing. And certainly Falling Fast feels like the sort of song Anika Moa might like to have written.
I feel pretty rank even writing this. I’m like the person that couldn’t fault the job-app but nit-picked my way through it to decide this could only ever be the thanks-for-coming runner-up, not the you-got-the-job star. But still, songwriting is important. X-factor is important. And I don’t hear anything beyond competent and capable here. That’s a damn shame.
Still, something may come with album number four. My secret wish is that Coddington returns to the idea of the band – her as the lead singer, frontperson. But with collaborative songwriting credits. With hooks and ideas that move beyond the clichéd bits assembled here.
Luck / Time sounds terrific. But I don’t feel like listening to it – and when I do nothing comes from it. I learn nothing. I feel nothing. That’s maybe all on me. But it’s the end result of my experience with this record.