With the first sound of the horn, Ana Egge realizes that her new album “Between Us” will be a little different than her eleven previous ones. That shouldn't really come as a surprise. Egge has been constantly finding new avenues discovered at the heart of the 2020 pandemic when she started working with Irish singer-songwriter Mick Flannery through Facetime. Nine of the 11 songs on the album are from these sessions. Egge remarks: “It was almost scary. Almost every time we met, we wrote an entire song. "
Starting with the opening track “Wait A Minute”, the fruits of this collaboration become clear. A bang of brass strikes you while Michael Ivara Montgomery's bass work creates an irresistible groove. The song reminds us that in order to hear we actually have to slow down and listen. "If you cut me, if you sidelined me / Then you lose me. Then you mess with my pride / And I want to hear you, I want it to get better / But we're getting nowhere if we don't go together. Finally, the chorus brings home the point “If you want to move, it has to be uncomfortable”.
Slowed down to the sounds of guitar and keyboards, "The Machine" is a number Egge calls a "Father and Lesbian Daughter" version of Cat Stevens "Father and Son". She makes it clear that she did a number of things to bridge the generation gap: “Go back, I always find your head in a motor / With your rag in your back pocket / Give me the ratchet, give me that Socket / I pretend to be consumed by resistors and cables / filters, carburetors and fuel injection. ”But that wasn't enough at the end of the day:“ You could understand me, but you'd have to try ”.
“You Hurt Me” has an unbelievable fragility in which Egge sings with a percussive flute about a difficult relationship against a foggy jazz feeling. It's almost as if the pain is still fresh: “I don't want to talk to you, everything you said left me you worked, I played / and we disappeared … I should have seen it coming / a Knife in the back is always like that. "
While much of this album is incredibly serious, “Want Your Attention” offers an easier moment. Thanks in part to the singing effects of her seven-year-old daughter singing into a cheap echo microphone, and an extremely infectious groove, Egge offers her flirtatious approach: closer baby / I can feel your eyes are on me too / I can make you to follow my every move. "
The album ends with one of the most heartbreaking songs I can remember, “We Lay Roses”. The song, an elegy for her nephew, begins with just a guitar as Egge sings about his "beautiful, beautiful brown eyes" before a lonely crown enters. The way she almost whispers the word "brown" only intensifies the pain she is feeling.
There is no doubt that "Between Us" is one of the bravest albums you are likely to hear this year. Ana Egge doesn't hit you. Nor should she. Music cannot be any stronger.