Boomkat Product Review:
Chicago dwelling violist and singer Anni Rossi has been something of a hot property on the underground circuit for the past couple of years, finally making her way onto 4AD with last year's Afton mini album. Rockwell expands on the formula with an accomplished set of songs produced by Steve Albini. The focus remains the interplay between Rossi's inventive string playing and her highly unusual voice; for the most part that voice remains characterful and distinctive without resorting to freak-folk contrivance, although the recurring octave-hopping yodel may prove divisive. Joanna Newsom comparisons are all-but inevitable, and actually it's a pretty reasonable link to make. Both are writers of considerable depth and have forged their own fiercely original sound having mastered their respective instruments. Just as Milk Eyed Mender was made memorable for the sprightly solo performances setting harp against vocal, Rockwell best reveals Rossi's talent when it's just her and the viola. 'Machine' begins with Rossi tapping a beat whilst plucking out a fulsome riff, and it's a noise that sounds somehow like more than the work of just one person. Former single 'Wheelpusher' is another impressively complex piece, and 'Venice' summons up a dervish-like energy with its aggressively bowed arpeggios - it's hard not to be impressed by Rossi's all round musicality, and Rockwell is a convincing account of her promisie and talent.