Annabelle Chvostek: Be The Media album review

Annabelle Chvostek

Annabelle Chvostek’s musical career can be traced back to when she joined the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus at just eight years of age. Since then, the Toronto based singer/songwriter has achieved a great deal, having composed four studio albums since the turn of the century and performed live to masses of people. She has also worked with many other artists over the years, including The Wailin’ Jennys with whom she has played all around the world.

Most recently however, Chvostek has been collaborating with drummer Tony Spina, bassist Jérémie Jones and New York producer Jeff Oehler of Beehive Productions on her fifth solo venture, Be The Media. Due for release on June 1st, the nine track compilation is a rousing mix of folk and roots music that also contains the occasional snippet of pop and rock.

Beginning with its title track, the record dives straight into a bustling beat ahead of a characterful melody. Fast paced and absorbing, it’s an energetic opener filled with attitude. “Jerusalem” follows it up with a reserved acoustic riff that moves towards a sobering harmony. Growing constantly and featuring some stirring string work, its tone remains mellow and solemn throughout.

“Black Hole” starts off in almost total silence, fading slowly in alongside ominous sound effects. Distant, resonant vocals eventually set in and cut across subtle guitars. Percussion gradually builds as the verse unfolds before the whole thing erupts into chaotic instrumentation, haunting as it does so. Bouncing out of its wake on an upbeat riff, “This Night” is more of a straightforward pop/rock number. Its warm and cheery melody gives off a relaxing vibe, while its quick rhythm ensures it’s consistently enthralling.

The hectic instrumental introduction of “Carnal Delights” precedes expressive vocals that persist into a raucous chorus. There’s a fun, playful feel to the piece as it takes its time developing. “You Can Come Now” strips down afterwards for a wonderfully affective ballad. Hitting high notes with its vocals, its soft and gentle sound makes for a very pleasant listen.

The seriousness that comes with the passionate harmony and instrumentation of “Like a Hurricane” affords it a deep and meaningful feel. This is succeeded by the incredibly infectious, jazzy opening of “Inside the Scream-Screen”. Racing eagerly towards determined lyrics, it showcases captivating guitar work and an irresistibly arresting beat. The laid back, affable riff and contented vocals of “Say It Right” take over next, being very easy to sit back and unwind to. This smooth flowing effort serves as a soothing finale.

While the folk and roots influence is undeniably prevalent throughout Annabelle Chvostek’s material here, it carries a vast amount of accessibility. The melodic, catchy style of each offering and wide range of moods mean that it doesn’t shoehorn itself into any one specific genre completely. Be The Media is a very well constructed record full of accomplished instrumentation and striking vocals that will surely appeal to a large and diverse audience.

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Graduate of NUI Maynooth's Department of English, passionate writer of fiction and creative non-fiction alike. Mad about music, movies and books. If there's anything I enjoy more than listening, watching and reading, it's writing about what I listen to, watch and read! Check me out at davecsimpson.wordpress.com, find me on Twitter @davesimpson1 or drop me a line at dave@puremzine.com