Review by Annar Veröld.
Powerdove is the music-child of Annie Lewandowski. For their first full-length album, Be Mine, released in February 2011, Powerdove collaborated with Alex Vittum and bassist Jason Hoopes. Together, the trio managed to capture and record Powerdove’s essence, which, according to Be Mine, is that of delicate and abstract emotion– tender to the heart, yet existing with a steady melancholy.
One of the album’s greatest strengths is Powerdove’s uncanny ability to be surprisingly and heart-racingly intimate. It sounds as if Annie Lewandowski’s soft lips are hovering near your ear, whispering of sweet sorrow as you yearn for more and more. During “Easter Song” and “I Don’t Mind”, the most powerful instrument in the album is Annie Lewandowski’s mouth. The recordings capture each breath– inhale and exhale– each closing and shutting of the lips, each time the tip of her tongue taps the roof of her mouth. Throughout the album, one of the most captivating moments among the tracks comes across as she carefully enunciates her delicate lyrics.
Unfortunately, Be Mine seems to be composed beneath the same tempo, giving the entire album the same uninteresting and boring, slow and repetitive speed in which Powerdove’s beautiful voice drags on. Despite each individual song having such a powerful ability to tug at the sorrow in our hearts, an entire album composed of similar tones and tempo demeans Be Mine into sounding like a generic piece of work. Variety in voice range and rhythm would certainly highlight Powerdove’s talent, but the lack of range just makes the entire album sound like one long, sad song that gets old after the first two tracks. “Cellophane” is definitely the track in the album with the most substance, sifting through emotions with successfully shifting moods. The track is enhanced by the change in speed, the repetitive chorus, the sweet guitar, and an eerie wind of percussion.
Many of the tracks on the album feature brilliant utilization of instruments. In “Birdsong”, the chimes and keyboard run parallel with Lewandowski’s celestial voice, enhancing the magic of the song and making it feel as light and airy as the vocals intend. In “Spinnin Daisy” and “Winterizing” the eeriness in the percussion truly captures a darker side of Powerdove. In addition to the percussion, throughout the album, bassist Jason Hoope’s guitar skills have an incredible ability to string each track together from beginning to end– giving Lewandowski’s delicate vocals structure. A few tracks even showcase the warm and heavy tone of brass. The dropping pitches of brass in “Sickly City” and “Spinnin Daisy” sway the energy of the track, giving the songs an undeniable attraction and a golden hue.
By the end of the Be Mine, you are left thirsting for more of Powerdove’s work. The album seems so carefully composed, flawless, which in turn makes it feel flawed, despite knowing something brilliant is hindering among the acoustics and Annie Lewandowski’s voice. Stylistically, Powerdove’s Be Mine appears to be the beautiful girl, with dreadlocks, reading South-American poetry by her lonesome during lunch– you want to speak to her, kiss her lips, dance with her, yet she’s destined to be painfully unattainable, sifting in a world of mystic pain.
Listen to “Birdsong” by Powerdove below and download here: