On August 31st, Anna Calvi will return with a new album titled Hunter. Due out through Domino, it’s her third full-length to date following 2013’s One Breath. It also comes after Strange Weather, her collaborative EP with David Byrne.
For Calvi, a two-time Mercury Prize-nominated songwriter, Hunter is a cathartic act. It’s also an exploration of sexuality and “breaking the laws of gender conformity.” A press statement goes on to describe the LP as “a queer and a feminist record, it is galvanising in its hunt for freedom.”
“I want to go beyond gender,” Calvi elaborates. “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.” The English artist adds, “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.”
The album’s 10 tracks were produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave) at London’s Konk Studios as well as in Los Angeles. Calvi was assisted in the studio by her band, Mally Harpaz on multiple instruments and drummer Alex Thomas. Special guests Adrian Utley of Portishead and The Bad Seeds member Martyn Casey also lent a hand on keys and bass, respectively.
Fans’ first look at Hunter comes in the form of “Don’t Beat the Girl Out of My Boy”, a song Calvi wrote while reflecting on the way in which children are introduced to gender stereotypes so early on in their lives. “It’s a song about the defiance of happiness,” she explains. “It’s about being free to identify yourself in whichever way you please, without any restraints from society.”
Check it out below via its official music video, directed by Kendrick Lamar collaborator William Kennedy. Choreography was provided by Aaron Sillis (FKA twigs).
01. As A Man
03. Don’t Beat the Girl Out of My Boy
04. Indies of Paradise
05. Swimming Pool
Read Calvi’s full statement on Hunter:
“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.”