Violinist Anna Phoebe has acquired serious rock and prog credentials in recent years, working with Jethro Tull, Jon Lord, Roxy Music and Trans- Siberian Orchestra. With this four-track EP, what’s immediately striking is the surely conscious step away from the overt dramatic rock stylings of her 2008 solo release, The Rise Of The Warrior.
Embrace is a somewhat more restrained effort in both sound and form. The moody intro to The Duel gives way to a jaunty Middle Eastern vibe and themes are explored via a bit of reggae, straight-ahead rock, and layered violins. In Continuum is a more deliberate excursion into ‘world music’, with underpinning strains of tabla and eastern European folk, and Awake is the nearest in style to her previous work.
Phoebe’s playing throughout is sumptuous, by turns sprightly, moving, playful, and evocative. The backing never gets too fussy or dense – bass and drums predominate with minimal use of guitar and keyboard.
Fans of her previous solo work should perhaps expect something a little less overblown, and it’ll be interesting to see if this new direction carries into her full-length album, due for release in 2014.