Northern Transmissions review of 'Fine But Dying' by Liza Anne

Arts & Crafts


Liza Anne

Fine But Dying

The genre of singer-songwriter alt-rock is often so inundated with similar sounds that it’s hard for anyone to say something new. Liza Anne however decides to play with people’s expectations time and time again to make music that feels as catchy as it does surprising. Though it will sometimes feel too familiar, her album is one that will hit a deep emotional note for most.

The driving beats bring a hefty punch of energy as the album opens on “Paranoia” mixing a little more anger into the typical pop singer-songwriter sound. It’s Anne’s penchant for blistering riffs and unconventional distortion however that makes the album so constantly exciting, almost like hearing Mother Mother’s first and most recent records jammed into one. Surf-rock soul charges the peppy attitude of “Small Talks” to make it’s uncertain lyricism grow more confident throughout the song. Though Anne’s pop is a little more predictable in this case, it’s her exuberant energy and excitement on the record that makes it all a joy to listen to.

This sense of happiness is stripped for the melancholy of “Panic Attack” as Anne digs into a deeper sense of worry and anxiety to face her own demons. As she gives voices to these personal demons in her instrumentation, the song really feels like an accurate reflection of Anne as a person. There’s an intimacy to the lyricism of “Socks” that gives its analogy for relationships and people so much weight. Thanks to Anne’s colourful way of telling a story, the off-kilter rhythms she brings in the track feel even more dynamic.

Though the lyricism hits an almost numbing loop, “Closest To Me” cleverly uses this to make each refrain feel more heavy and shocking. Tackling a bit of sad country and personal growth, Anne fills her album with a surprising track that shines for its differences. While Anne pulls in tones of Taylor Swift on “Turn For the Worse” she is endlessly catchy while providing more depth in her writing than Swift offers. This sense of pop and the song’s explorative bridge set the song apart and give it a unique accessibility.

“Kid Gloves” hits with a wallop of drums and attention-grabbing feedback that merges arena rock with a more biting sense poignancy. Anne’s quirky writing breaks down a lot of the barriers in genre as well, to make you question why it’s taken so long to hear someone blend influences like this. The light bounce of “Control” lets Anne’s venomous lyrics cut through even more, as the song slow-burns its emotional intensity for a final burst of heartbreak. Though the track feels a bit like an interlude, it carries way more depth and hard-hitting writing than one would expect.

The growl of “Get By ” give its catchy hooks a much more intriguing platform to reach out from, and Anne’s syncopated refrains make it all the more memorable. As she really subverts her pop with more off-kilter drum breaks and washes of effects, the song evolves into a mesmerizing listen. “I Love You, But I Need Another Year” burns with the immediacy that Anne’s pained lyricism speaks to, as she brings her baggage to life in her instrumentation. Despite its sonic simplicity this deep in the record, Anne really lets herself shine transparently on “I’m Tired, You’re Lonely” to end the album with a raw performance.

Words by Owen Maxwell