In the furious hype machine of modern indie music, gimmicks seem to go even further than they used to. Anna Padgett, aka The Naysayer, is something of an anti-gimmick: a strong songwriting voice, with tunes that are dreamily skewed but grounded in relatable truths, creatively presented in eclectic arrangements spanning from post-rock to rollicking country-folk to 90s indie. No gimmicks, just really good songs. Can it possibly have a shot?
I hope so, because Smoke Reality, produced by Tara Jane O'Neil, deserves to be heard; it's full of smart little missives from the land of down but not out. "Lose Yourself in Nature and Find Peace" and "Topanga" are deceptively well-crafted folk songs about getting away from what ails you. The one-two punch of "Come Back" and "Love Horse" are the sort of slightly sinister, sultry tunes Barbara Manning used to turn out in her heyday. There's also also a touch of Manning in two frentic, piano-driven tunes, "Parents" and "Clean Girl", the latter is a perfect character snapshot at 76 seconds, a lazy eye surveying its own insecurities through another.
This eclecticism, musically and emotionally, is in the best tradition of indie music. Padgett mixes things up but keeps a common thread through the force of her guardedly optimistic personality, not always an easy task.
Check out the title track, "Smoke Reality", a hazy, lazy meditation resting atop a hypnotic, Jim O'Rourke-like thicket of sound. You can buy the album here.
MP3: The Naysayer - Smoke Reality