Much like the striking artwork on the album’s sleeve, the music contained within Annika Bentley’s Silver Recovery is both beautifully stark and profoundly imaginative, all while hinting at some sort of past tragedy.
Bentley, a Rochester, New York singer-songwriter, had a string of robust releases throughout the late ‘90s and early 2000’s, but unfortunately had to take a break from music due to a prolonged illness. This release is her first in thirteen years, and what a return it is.
The album truly feels like an overflowing fountain of pent up creativity, with every aspect of it being astonishingly strong and methodically crafted. Everything from the power of the poetic lyrics to the poignant melodies and Bentley’s impassioned, multifaceted vocals shines brightly here. Even after a single listening, it becomes apparent that each song is a precious gemstone that’s been carefully plucked, cleaned of any impurities and polished over time.
Lyrically, the songs conjure the romantic imagery of Leonard Cohen and the holy rawness of Judee Sill, as well as the poetry of Sylvia Plath. Every line is packed with vibrant scenes and unique symbolism that unloads volumes of meaning when you start to unpack them. A favorite example of this for me is this particular part of the excellent “Wood Thrush:”
“The restless body is a ghost we leave,
for the clutch of the earth, its cosmos of seeds.
An ovenbird, a jam jar, terrarium gold,
The forest is blushing, the flush of my throat.
The sound of the wood is shaking in me, the sound of the wood is in me.”
I could spend all day thinking about these lyrics (and I practically already have).
The strength of these potent words is bolstered by Bentley’s evocative piano playing, as well as the gorgeous, near-pastoral backing instrumentation. With the help of the subtle yet effective drumming of Otto Hauser (from Vetiver, Espers and Cass McCombs) and the sympathetic guitar work of Greg Townson (from Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets) combined with the efforts of harpist Mary Lattimore and bassists Keith Parkins and Kathleen Fraser (Bentley’s mother), each song hits its mark without fail.
If you consider yourself a devotee of the likes of Joni Mitchell, Laura Marling or Jeff Buckley, then you could easily become a lifelong fan of Annika Bentley’s Silver Recovery. You can buy it here today.