Album Review: Ani DiFranco ‘Allergic to Water’

Ani Difranco is currently touring the UK and Europe with upcoming dates in London. Her latest album Allergic to Water will be released on October 13th, to much anticipation within the LBQ community.
Released on Righteous Babe Records
Release Date 13 October 2014

The Ani DiFranco Canon pt I and II are some of the most played tracks on my iPod and I have been a fan of DiFranco since being introduced to her by my second girlfriend in 1998, who wouldn’t be with such masterpiece albums as Living in Clipin the back catalogue?

Allergic to Water is moody and low key, intriguingly producing a Vinylsound via digital recording. DiFranco has never been afraid to take chances nor speak (sing) her mind. DiFranco’s new studio album, Allergic To Water, is another bold accomplishment and its music is her most subtle.

Opening track Dithering brings an eletro-industrial feel to the fore, establishing a slow rhythm that permeates throughout the production. See See See See takes us back to the trademark acoustic roots, and the steely strings are strutted with the aplomb we would expect, accompanied by the (un)surprisingly delicate vocals. Careless Words is the embodiment of Ani, encompassing lyrics, vocals, percussion and strings that make this song sound like it’s been part of the canon for many years, yet at the same time refreshingly current.

The title track strips everything back to the poet; dark, intense, soulinterrogating. The playful, melodic Yeah Yr Right lifts the tone right back up with its Joie de vivre. Closing with the optimistic, up-beat (but not quite up-tempo) Rainy Parade, there’s a residual sense of empowerment, and that despite everything, life’s not that bad after all.

‘Allergic To Water’ was recorded at her Victorian home in New Orleans and at a nearby studio in an old church with an intimate group of musiciians and prominent guest artists, keeping a very personal feel – so personal that DiFranco produced and mixed the record herself.

DiFranco is touring accompanied by guest artists and band, bassist Todd Sickafoose and drummer Terence Higgins on several stops. Violinist Jenny Scheinman will open and sit in at some points, as will keyboardist Ivan Neville.

She reflects on her collaborations, “I think that my one grain of wisdom in my life, which serves me well, is that when I meet a great teacher, I follow them…I invent excuses to be near them. Whether it’s Pete (Seeger), Utah Phillips, or Sekou Sundiata, it’s made my life pretty great along the way.”

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