Anni Rossi – Rockwell


Like the female equivalent of Owen Pallett’s work as Final Fantasy Anni Rossi approaches indie pop through a classical perspective. Her weapon of choice isn’t a guitar or a piano but a viola that she plucks taps scrapes strums and bows through Rockwell her debut full-length album.

Using her unconventional viola playing along with some sparse drumming and the occasional guest cello Rossi constructs quirky little pop songs that succeed primarily on their charm and loose feel. Recorded in a single day by legendary producer Steve Albini the album often feels like a live private performance and that sense of spontaneity makes it easy for listeners to forgive the album’s lack of variation.

Some might find it harder to forgive Rossi’s voice. She shares her childlike delivery with fellow classical-cum-pop musician Joanna Newsom. Rossi routinely strains her voice through bleated octave leaps a vocal tick that is endearing at first but becomes the musical equivalent of a Seinfeldian up-talker by album’s end.

Despite Rossi’s vocals and its rather slight run time the album’s charm wins out. Rockwell is a flawed listen but also a fun one.