Anna Waronker: California Fade (Five-foot-two records)

by Laurie Henzel

Oh how we’ve missed the sunny guitar pop stylings of Anna Waronker. The Los Angeles singer/songwriter, who issued her eponymous solo effort nearly a decade ago, after fronting that dog. for a number of years during the ’90’s alt-rock heyday, has returned with the richly reflective “California Fade.” A host of longtime collaborators lend their talents, including her hubby [OFF! and Redd Kross bassist] Steven McDonald, sister-in-law [Go-Go’s guitarist and her fellow Five-Foot-Two business partner] Charlotte Caffey, and brother Joey Waronker, just to name a few. And from the start, Waronker opens up her heart, while making sense of what’s on her mind, declaring on the lovely “Beautiful Life,” “I refuse to spend my time mourning my worst fears.” Those are certainly words to live by, and Waronker warmly reminds us of that as she explores everyday complexities. Churning guitar riffs mesh with feelings of insecurity on “Scared,” while “First Time of My Life” and “California Fade” voyage inward with little more ease. “Cannibals and Quicksand” is lush in childlike reverie, calling to the mind the sweetness of friendship. However, its bookend paints a pure picture of life’s ever-changing path: “The road is long/The road is tough,” Waronker laments on the string-laden “How Am I Doing?” Anna, you’re doing great m’dear. Thanks for telling it like it is. We’re so glad you’re back! [MACKENZIE WILSON]

IYRL: Jon Brion, Amie Mann

Photo by Lauren Dukoff

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