When Anna Burch released Quit the Curse, her songs were snarky and rocking. Burch never shies away from brutal honesty, and her melodies are so infectious that it’s easy to snicker at the emotional contrast between these sides of her writing.
Burch’s sophomore release, If You’re Dreaming, finally marries the acoustics to the narrative. With the chaos of touring her debut record, Burch spends the first half of this record exploring the fallout it brought to her personal life. Whether it’s the psychedelic riffs of “Party’s Over” or an ethereal wash of reverb on “So I Can See,” Burch gives a sense of wonder to even her most hopeless stories.
This leaves the whole record appropriately dream-like as Burch uses her effects to enhance emotional impact. So when the happy side to Burch’s writing emerges later in the album, “Not So Bad” can emulate its optimism with saxophones as well as flourishing guitars. The ambitious use of instrumental tracks like “Keep It Warm” also pull listeners deeper into the surreal emotions of the album.
With such a fleshed out personal arc on display, Anna Burch grows as much a person as she does as a musician on If You’re Dreaming.