"Annika Bentley and her backing band... turn chamber music upside down with a surfeit of tempo changes, stark imagery, and sweeping strings. what Cat Power has founded through the art of the nervous breakdown, Bentley re-tools with the mechanics of orchestration and larger-than-life symphonic sound equal parts medieval canon and modern pop."
-Chris Lawrence, Rockpile
"With viola, cello, acoustic piano, bass guitar, glockenspiel and percussion punctuating Bentley's stark compositions, With Leak, Blink and Breath is an alluring collection of bittersweet and reflective compositions. Only 20 years of age, Bentley's wordplay is often shrouded in mystery as evidenced in "Fall is Coming," which professes "choose which sarcophagus wants more to let me lie/ as good as Corpiscola/ like the good pocket calculator girls I know." Akin to the adult alternative pop boom of the 1990s that brought the cadre of female singer-songwriters Tori Amos, Emm Gryner, Paula Cole, Heather Nova and Ani DiFranco to the mainstream, Bentley's vocal abilities display an earthy, sensual veneer, and her lyrical imagery is wide open for interpretation. Cuts such as "Hearts Newly Arrived," "Gloria Wrist" and "What a Spell" display a talent with enormous artistic potential. Stay tuned to Annika Bentley."
- Tom Semioli, Amplifier
released May 8, 2001
Annika Bentley: Vocals, Piano, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Keyboards, Glockenspiel
Kathleen Fraser: Double Bass
Greg Gefell: Pedal Steel
Stacia Hassett: Drums
Laura Hornbake: Cello
Cheryl Kohfeld: Viola
Brenda Robak: Viola on "Pedicellaria"
Giuseppe Testo: Vocals on "Starling"
All songs written & arranged by Annika Bentley, except "Hearts Newly Arrived," written by Jason Molina.
Recorded by Tony Gross & Saby Reyes-Kulkarni at GFI Studios in Webster, NY except all guitars and main vocals on "Pedicellaria," "Gloria Wrist," and "Hearts Newly Arrived" recorded by Chris Brazener at Dynamic Recording in Rochester, NY. All piano recorded by Tony Gross at Annika's house. Mixed and Mastered by Tony Gross. Produced by Annika Bentley, Kathleen Fraser, and Tony Gross.
Photography by Annika Bentley. Design by Douglas Boatwright/Bracket.
Did you hear he shot her up & down & all around? To them the independence didn't make a sound. Upon the nightingale, behind the curving spine, talons always scratching at that which isn't mine. Anyone can tear apart a wing with brittle skin. Placid protrusions bursting one by one, bone through thinning leather cries gently at the breath. No robin's babies tucked inside, no blossoming of flight this red. With a narrow marrow, my leg tightens like the night. I believe this invasion to have been impolite.
Track Name: Lucid Lusitania
I'll eat nothing of this, it's in my blood because I've not been vaccinated for hi-fi love. Armor for this catching skin because your fingers they are contagious. my ribs, my waves, my words, my tide. But just in Texas there's a sorry and a space suit for a soldier who doesn't want to breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe, BREATHE. My ribs, my waves, my words, my tide. Love grafts on these trees. My tick-tock mechanics heart the metal sparks could not ignite. A little happier, a little frostbite in my mascara. I could not stop or begin again. I could not seal my lips. I could not smooth the sea. Contagious. My ribs, my waves, my words, my tide. A little happier. I thought I kissed a pair of wings. A pair of wings.
(All at six, all of a square, all from a roof encompass me, awash and affix my hair with all the confessed adornments of your throat. Fist in hand, bring me under your deadly locks. Chewed up and caressed I'm time for moths. Quiet my voice, tremble my fingers, tremble, a treble yearning and grasping amongst these teeth. Every single one. Lest we forget. A moon-stroke. That's all. In an eye of the biggest circle. I saw and was a star. A flip-switch switch top vacillation role-reversal makes me into here and there and back again. The finest of delicate and muted lines I thought I kissed a pair of wings. No lips equal to this butter-lion-fly. I don't ever want to consume again. Born and Borne again of a scratch and a sound I know is resonating within your chest. I'm searching for this echo in my ribs. All my air smells like honey and your skin. Eating the seeds to conceal them in your tummy. Nothing can grow through such thick skin. A taste, I wouldn't start, continuation nil, what's over nearly happened retrospectively. I'll soon have miles of fabric if this pattern holds its threads. I am a needle of insistent flight. This is right now, she says. I married him for all his masquerade. I trusted an aphoniac. I wanted talk like narcolepsy. He spoke of pyrophobia and I now believe this was his incapacitation, not a fleeting or a flickering stranger. Wobble wobble, indeed. I can't bear these blisters any more than a distance or a lying nod. I'm trafficked and forgotten. Could you be more like cartilage? Bend, a way to implore, I encourage it, bend. I can feel you like cancer in my wanting cells. I desire of you osmosis. All I wanted, to plug this nightmare vacuum with a tear. Taste the self in this constellation. I've tried so many ways of lying down. The finest of delicate and muted lines. I thought I kissed a pair of wings. No lips equal to this butter-lion-fly. The water holds better than arms. It holds forever.)
Track Name: Fall Is Coming
Choose which sarcophagus wants more to let me lie, as good as corpsicola, like the good pocket calculator girls and I know I'll be closing my eyes and I can't even LEAVE. The trees are down. Garden social girls and all those white dresses grab me duplicitous and shake, in my needs on my face, obliteration science I fear I won't escape. My blankets scream. I'm just trying to keep the fall outside. I feel the pull of the trees. Don't implore me to fall. I will, I will, I will. Math hotel, lock-box trophy case, unforgiving tile after tile. Bed or The Building? Company of cotillions, forever examples of where I'd be better to be 2-D and invisible, I always wanted to be with these trees, these trees, these trees.
Track Name: Starling
We were giving you back. I wanted to stroke the cavity away. It doesn't just end with the feather-edge or with the woods. Of it and I cradle it so and so. So consumes. The subtle bulbs are changing one by one in the meadow or the freezer room, neither moon nor lamp permits the blur. It crouches me and I want to be inside the wings and I want to be the wings. I forgot who we were in the onliness of eye to eye. Claws tucked softly up to rice paper eyes, I feel the empty ends of scapula gasping at the sky. I'm too small to be alive. Little birds are flying, little birds through the blood, little birds inside the palm, little birds beneath the skin. For always the little bird. Per sempre lo piccolo uccello. For always the little bird.
Track Name: Gloria Wrist
Heavybound like heaven trucks through the night to bring you sky, don't leave your wings on the table, you need them to leave this behind. The cyclops holds my views didactic and ships me off to learn the nature of my crime. Gentle one, don't lose those hands. I sleep now knowing of them. The light beneath your skin is paler than truth and just as blue. I will ask every star, what's summer worth? Every time, it dies. Gloria, gloria.
Track Name: Everything I Deserve Is Inside Static
I have witnessed your stolid ekistics, I have grown a marsh of stagnancy around my lie-a-bed ligation. I just kept dreaming I was waking up. I've drawn all the veins of circuitry and will be eaten in my map. I am trying not to try, hello, just my static attic keeping emigration hostages. I believe I should be bound in furies, I feel I could swallow myself in enervation. I believe I should make sound in furies. I just kept dreaming I was waking up. The coupling traumatics live in parallel decades. That's unsavory but mine, the coincidental. Silent scene queen, I am the caressing comatic. I'd rather drown myself in this sea of star-coated bedsheets than pump this blood. Are these veins full enough? I just kept dreaming I was waking up.
I'll numb you up good. I'll womb you up good. I'll crumble you good. Which one of me is blind-eyed, which the sphinx? That is the cupola that locks me in.
Track Name: What a Spell
Forget the aeroplanes which can't save you now. Habit habit, little rabbit, I will drown in this skin. My golden memorial, scratch scratch scratch, flutter car-fast and plain. Pirated my diffidence and you let your lashes down to fly. Penchant pendant round and round it flickers faster than your moths. Stick this needle in my eye, my words left you so unsatisfied. Arrest within my every sigh and bear these losses by and by and by. I can weight the picture box in currency of robins now. You can sing a mother song with thumbs like rocking paper horses go, tracing how I came to set this package out. Don't fight the civil service, I am the postal man.
Track Name: Duty Of Man At Wheel
It's your RPM machinery within pharmaceuticals, the makeup and medicine. If you'd like to be the down, I can't help you stay. A name and a half and the forks in your bed make you a tinny garden where to rest your head. If you'd like to be the down, I can't help you stay. You're off on your race to buy records and fade away. Locked up in your rose-lost apothecary wasting papers for a jewel-case vocabulary. If you'd like to be the down, I can't help you stay. I never thought you'd lease out as liars or get your rock and roll prospective buyers in their uniform pulp-suede black-out attires lined up for 360 serotonin suppliers. So much is the need and the needed of vinyl-cut joy. You're off on your race to buy records and fade away. Like taking the bus to your foreign concave window sometimes we sentenced you, eager to save. If you'd like to be the down, I can't help you stay. It's your RPM machinery within pharmaceuticals, the makeup and medicine. If you'd like to be the down, I can't help you stay.
Track Name: Pedicellaria
On and on I swam at the cusp of my ceasing. I swear the last pelagic thought propelled me there. Docility I kept in fingers wrapped as weeds and when I wore my barest breath the tides were paired. Elegiac and wired for sounds of seas and seeing I tore my skiff and choked upon your falling air. I spanned the shore to shore, unfastened my safety belt. My needy lungs heaved for a sinking we could share.
I'm a huge Aloha fan & this is my favorite of theirs. Shimmers, shivers, polyrhythms, and super satisfying vocals that may have been recorded in Tony's closet. Nostalgic and also timeless. Annika Bentley