Angi West – Love is a Special Way of Feeling

January 01, 1970

(Appalachian Anti-Pop)  


Berklee-trained, keyboard-wielding chanteuse Angi West hails
from the mountains of western North Carolina
(raised in the tiny, touristy town of Cullowhee,
resides in the regional cultural mecca Asheville),
and her choice of name for her homegrown label couldn’t be more appropriate. Think
of how other bands’ locales have often yielded similar descriptors: Calexico’s desert noir; R.E.M.’s kudzu pop; Tortoise’s Windy City worldbeat; etc.


So on West’s second full-length, Appalachian anti-pop would seem the perfect tagline. West boasts a
delightfully eclectic vocal style that conjures at times Feist’s forceful
sensuality, Tori Amos’ elegant swoops ‘n’ purrs, Joni Mitchell’s upper-register
free-form flights and Bjork’s chirpy eccentricity, all put to dramatic effect
against a stately-but-edgy backdrop of piano, bass and percussion occasionally
augmented by horns.  Those Appalachian
roots shine through at unexpected moments: the a capella “Let Them Sleep,” what with West’s subtle slide into a
regional twang, could be a vintage folksong handed down for generations; the
droning arrangement of “Home in Heaven” and West’s gospel-informed vocal suggest
the mountain Celtic tradition and time spent as a youth singing in a church


And from the elegantly operatic “Same Speed” and the
delightfully-titled, slightly gothic “Lucy and Linnea” to the spangly,
Feist-like “One Hand” and the title track (curiously, not credited on the
sleeve) that, with its loopy accordion backing and boozy group singalong, makes
you feel confident that hanging out with West & Crew down at the pub would not be without incident, the songstress
exudes a rare charisma and personality. The record’s gifts are bestowed slowly,
subtly; spend some time with it; because, while it may be anti-pop in the sense of going against the grain, it’s never the
antithesis of “pop.” Rather, it’s the very essence.


Standout Tracks: “One
Hand,” “Home in Heaven” FRED MILLS



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