Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs “The Only Thing That Matters’ (Bug Bubba Dog, 2009)
As raw and powerful an album as you’ll hear all year
Following up a debut as acclaimed as “Crooked Path” was never going to be easy and Star Anna deserves much credit for not taking the easy way out and making the same album again. This time out the word is power, and plenty of it. The wall of sound the Laughing Dogs construct on the likes of “Spinning My Wheels” is ear-bending stuff and they are tighter than a very tight thing indeed on the frankly magnificently rampant rocker “Burn.”
This is not to suggest that Star Anna’s writing muse has been swopped for an amplifier that goes up to eleven. Far from it, she matches the bands power with strength of her own, delivering another dozen songs that are best described by the opening line of one of them, “Lonely Ride Home.” “This pen is full of red blood cells,” she sings, and never was a truer word written. Scraping the heart raw with naked emotion she bleeds over the end of a relationship in “Through the Winter”, rejects another in “Where I Come From” and as for the vengeful vampiric slayer of “Restless Water” (“I am sick in my mind/I find solace in their cries”) well, you wouldn’t want to meet her on a brightly lit street at noon, let alone in the wee small hours in a shadowed glade.
Some stars burn brief and dim, Star Anna burns like S Doradus gone nova. She and the Dogs deliver passion, grit and rock’n’roll and right now there really isn’t anyone out there to touch them.
Date review added: Friday, June 19, 2009
Reviewer: Jeremy Searle
Related web link: Star Anna website