Anna Rose Beck's Glass House in Outer Space | Record Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Anna Rose Beck's Glass House in Outer Space 

Glass House in Outer Space, the new LP from Durham singer-songwriter Anna Rose Beck, starts off jagged and gentle. A finger-picked nylon string guitar runs counter to a defeated 3 a.m. shuffle, punctuating Beck's dejected imagery and keeping the listener from getting too comfortable. The song grooves, but it's hard to groove to.

The central message of Beck's second record follows that juxtaposition: Life moves on, even when you're not ready. It can be a pretty bleak listen, as when she sings, "Sometimes I disappear in my mind/ just thinking on how things might have been/ if there were no bitter end" on "I Wish." It's the kind of grown-up breakup song that epitomizes this corner of folk music, built upon double entendres about mortality and failed relationships.

Glass House is best when Beck balances such naked admissions with powerful, poetic imagery. During the caustic, bitter opener "Bandaid," the collection's strongest track, she describes herself "drinking spoiled, week-old wine." Sometimes these metaphors end up overextended and over-complex, making for songs that fall flat. Despite including a wonderfully dark line about bones heavier than snow, "Blackbird" is built on figurative language too dense to comprehend. Folk is essentially a verbal form; when the imagery doesn't work, what could otherwise be poetry ends up a flood of words.

Beck's willingness to dwell in lonely depths without being overly maudlin is a strength in this genre. And when Beck manages to couch sharp, terrible edges in gentle timbres, as she does on Glass House's best tracks, she's a capable young stylist.

Label: self-released

This article appeared in print with the headline "Histories and Frontiers."


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review

Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Love it! All the songs are beautiful!

by Jon Champion on Record Review: The Return of The Veldt, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation, Is Great (Record Review)

This release will be available Friday December 4th here:

Thanks! …

by Scott Phillips on Review: The electronic excellence of GNØER's Tethers Down (Record Review)

You should have let Currin write this. One of the best singers on earth and these were your observations? sounds …

by Remo on Record review: Jeanne Jolly's A Place to Run (Record Review)


© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation