We haven’t heard from Anna Calvi, the intense and powerful British singer, since the release of Strange Weather, the 2014 covers EP where she teamed up with David Byrne. And Calvi hasn’t released a full album since 2013’s One Breath. But later this summer, Calvi will come back with the new album Hunter, and it could be something special.
Calvi recorded the album with producer and Nick Cave collaborator Nick Launay, and her backing band on the LP includes Portishead’s Adrian Utley and they Bad Seeds’ Martyn Casey. On the album, she deals with issues of attraction and gender identity. All of that comes to the surface on first single “Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy,” a feverish and expressionistic rocker. Of the song, Calvi says, “It’s a song about the defiance of happiness. It’s about being free to identify yourself in whichever way you please, without any restraints from society.”
For the song’s video, Calvi worked with director William Kennedy and FKA twigs choreographer Aaron Sillis. In the clip, she’s surrounded by dancers who move her body around in ways that are both erotic and threatening. Below, check out the video and the album’s tracklist, as well as Calvi’s long statement on the new album.
01 “As A Man”
03 “Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy”
04 “Indies Or Paradise”
05 “Swimming Pool”
I’m hunting for something — I want experiences, I want agency, I want sexual freedom, I want intimacy, I want to feel strong, I want to feel protected and I want to find something beautiful in all the mess.
I want to go beyond gender. I don’t want to have to chose between the male and female in me. I’m fighting against feeling an outsider and trying to find a place that feels like home.
I believe that gender is a spectrum. I believe that if we were allowed to be somewhere in the middle, not pushed to the extremes of performed masculinity and femininity, we would all be more free. I want to explore how to be something other than just what I’ve been assigned to be. I want to explore a more subversive sexuality, which goes further than what is expected of a woman in our patriarchal heteronormative society. I want to repeat the words “girl boy, woman man”, over and over, to find the limits of these words, against vastness of human experience.
I believe in the female protagonist, who isn’t simply responding to a man’s story. I go out into the world and see it as mine — I want something from it, rather than just being a passive product of it. I’m hungry for experiences. Sometimes things seem clear, and other times I feel lost. I feel strong and yet vulnerable; I wear my body and my art as an armour, but I also know that to be true to myself is to be open to being hurt.
The intent of this record is to be primal and beautiful, vulnerable and strong, to be the hunter and the hunted.
Hunter is out 8/31 on Domino.