Wreck of the Day
On her 2005 debut Anna Nalick prefers to simmer rather than scorch her way through a set of emotionally conflicted compositions. At 20, this California singer/songwriter shows a firm command of her craft, tossing off intricate wordplay and vivid imagery with ease. Damaged romance is a frequent concern, with the slightly countrified “Breathe (2 AM)” and the moody, rock-slanted “Bleed” cutting especially deep. Nalick has a knack for light, slippery grooves, coming across as a more playful Fiona Apple on shuffling tunes like “Citadel” and “Consider This.” She largely avoids melodrama in favor of interior exploration — “Paper Bag” and “Catalyst” probe tormented relations with a feel for minute detail. While most of the tracks here are folk-pop, “Forever Love (Digame)” allows Nalick to put on the elegant airs of a jazz chanteuse. Best of all is the title song (heard here in two versions), a brooding account of obsession and acceptance set to a woozy, smoldering melody. In the end, Nalick makes even her painful confessions sound life affirming.