Review - Fish records, March 2009
Review- Fish Records
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Three years on from her excellent 'Big Dream Boulevard', Antje returns with a new album that is destined to see her rise to the top of the current singer/songwriter scene.
One of the few criticisms of the previous album was that the production was a little too much in places, but that is remedied in some style 'The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer' which sees Richard Shindell in his first role as a producer. Bringing Shindell to the songs has given the whole album a more gentle, flowing and relaxed feel that suits her though provoking, occasionally dark songs perfectly. These are essentially understated songs that show real insight into social and personal situations, and the lightness of touch in the production helps the lyrical insights land their punches with the listener. The strength of the lyrics is accentuated by Antje's distinct vocals, there's a youthful innocence in her voice that is immediately disarming and easy to listen to.
As well as producing the disc, Shindell's presence is felt on many tracks in the form of immediately identifiable instrumental and vocal work, and the disc also features the talents of Lucy Kaplansky, John Gorka and Victor Krauss.
While her very early self released discs demonstrated her writing talents, the songs here show her development into one of the best contemporary writers around, at times very reminiscent of Patty Griffin, the ten songs here are all excellent, in particular the beautiful 'Long Way', the Griffin-esque opener 'Vertigo', and 'Ragdoll Princes and Junkyard Queens' the most upbeat song on the album.
'The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer' really delivers on the obvious promise of her previous albums, and the pairing with Shindell has brought the songs alive by taking away the unnecessary in instrumentation and letting her vocals and lyrics speak for themselves. A beautiful album, full of great songs.