Anna Burch – If You're Dreaming

If You're Dreaming sees Anna Burch walk through a thoughtfully crafted narrative arc, ideal for hazy days in bed

Album Review by Bethany Davison | 01 Apr 2020
  • Anna Burch – If You're Dreaming
Album title: If You're Dreaming
Artist: Anna Burch
Label: Polyvinyl Record Co. / Heavenly Recordings
Release date: 3 Apr

Drifting away from the energetic fuzz of 2018’s Quit the Curse, Anna Burch returns with If You’re Dreaming: a sonically directed tour behind closed doors, dynamically navigating highs and lows along a carefully choreographed emotional narrative.

After an aggressive touring stint, Burch found herself recuperating at home, slow and steady, as though learning to walk again after months of dancing. In this time she spent days playing guitar, allowing lyrics to come to her naturally, without provocation. This is where we find her, at home, guitar at the forefront, guiding us down a delicately crafted path of introversion and introspection, tracing each song along the album’s emotional arc.

If You’re Dreaming shares sonically in the subtle merriment of a day spent in bed through stormy weather, its lyrical footfalls guided by the melancholy of sleepless nights. At its most delicate points, slow climbing chord progressions carry as much emotion as her lyrics, and at its lowest, though sparse, carry them where they feel overly simple.

Despite a move away from Quit the Curse, not all energy is lost; Party’s Over toys with catchy lyrics and more memorable hooks, delivered over the idiosyncratic warmth of a 12-string guitar. So I Can See is a honey-sweet wake-up call, rising from wood blocks to nurturing, Plantasia-like synths.

Ask Me To continues with this burst of light, emblazoned with playfully punchy lines like ‘it won’t be long before it hits, like too much wine on empty stomachs’. In her attentive emotional arc, Burch instills a realism that all great (feelings) must end. Energetically and emotionally alike, the record regresses from this high point, as though Burch is guiding us through the end of a bad relationship (suspicion, breakup; breakup sex, regretting said breakup sex; self-consolation.)  

At points the album feels so meticulously planned it becomes dreich and sluggish, with a couple of minute-long instrumentals thrown in to explicitly delineate a shift in mood. Otherwise, it is simply lovely. 

Wrapping itself up with strumming that feels like rain trickling down your bedroom window, we are taken, implicitly, back to one of Burch’s opening remarks: ‘If there is someone to love, is that what you are dreaming of?’

Listen to: Party’s Over, So I Can See