Remember that girl you knew when you were a freshman in college who insisted on wearing black all the time and making you listen as she read her poems, which invariably involved death? Well, imagine if she made an album, and it might have been a lot like Lindsay Fuller's first release for ATO Records, You, Anniversary. A few important differences, though -- unlike that girl, Fuller has a great voice, the will to make something of it, and the good fortune to have gone into a recording studio with a handful of fine musicians able to give shape and color to her melodies. You, Anniversary's title song was adapted from a poem by W.S Merwin in which he pondered the notion of the anniversary of his upcoming death, and how many times it has passed without his awareness; the notion that Fuller would make this the centerpiece of her album tells you a great deal about her lyrical concerns. But if her gloomy obsessions seem a bit affected at times, they're crafted with strength and intelligence, and she certainly has the right instrument to make them come alive. Suggesting the love child of Nick Cave and Erika Wennerstrom of the Heartless Bastards, the resonant force of Fuller's vocals is a wonder to behold, and producer Paul Bryan had the wisdom to match her with musicians who clearly understand they are following her lead and give her the space to make the room shake with her sadness and rage against the dying of the light. And while the gloom never really lifts on You, Anniversary, on the closing song "Coal Mine Canary," Fuller makes room for some welcome solace in her 40 minutes of mourning. As a songwriter, Fuller's work is likely to remain a matter of taste, and she's not going to go over with folks who are looking for light and joy in their music. But her gifts are not to be denied, and if you'd like to be bummed out with someone who has a singular talent, then put down your Sylvia Plath for a moment and give You, Anniversary your undivided attention.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming