London-based singer and songwriter Anna B Savage has been building up a buzz for a few years now, and most recently knocked us out with “Dead Pursuits” back in June. Today she is announcing her long-awaited debut album, A Common Turn, which will be released on January 29 through City Slang. Along with the news she has shared the song “A Common Tern” – if you’re confused/intrigued by the minor spelling difference between song and album titles, here is her explanation from when she went fishing with her ex and saw the titular birds:
“When I saw the terns, I was pretty amazed: they really did seem like they were just suspended, dangling on the bottom of a thread. Something about that seeming captivity, being on the end of an invisible line, then breaking free. They were at once familiar and yet so strange and weird. I don’t think I entirely grasped the relevance while I was writing it but now it seems very, very frickin obvious. I spent a year and a half after the tern incident trying to extricate myself from the relationship, bit by bit, section by section. It was fuckin hard work, and I did do a lot of apologising. For me, a common turn means the common moment where you decide you just don’t/ can’t love someone any more, and there’s nothing any of you can do about it.”
“A Common Tern” starts idyllically enough, a light guitar stroll providing the backdrop to the scene of Anna and her ex on their fishing trip, he pointing out the birds to her. We then jump into her mind, descending into a pit of turmoil and uncertainty provoked by the sight of the dangling terns. Her powerful and dextrous voice floats in space for a moment, before cavorting guitars add fuel to the flammable mixture, and “A Common Tern” then becomes a firework display of riffs and Anna’s unbridled singing out her pain, realising she is trapped and needs to get out while she still has the strength. She takes the metaphor even further as she describes the visceral act of removing his hook from her cheek and putting it back in his hand – as powerful and composed an image for breaking off a toxic relationship as you’re likely to hear.