wed 18/09/2019

CD: Anja McCloskey - Quincy Who Waits | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Anja McCloskey - Quincy Who Waits

CD: Anja McCloskey - Quincy Who Waits

One of the year’s prettiest albums from the quirky German-American

McCloskey: just wanting to entertain

She's never liked labels, but this time round Anja McCloskey’s categorisation as “alternative folk” really seems misleading. Sure, there may still be the prominent use of accordion and her unusual voice, but now the 22-year-old seems only incidentally eccentric. Indeed, the overriding sense from Quincy Who Waits – a dreamy, phantasmagoria of sound – is that the singer from Iowa really just wants to entertain.

The album builds on the her debut, An Estimation, whose 19th century central European feel delighted many critics and invited comparisons to The Mummers and Spiro. The gypsy violins and accordions are still present on Quincy Who Waits but the melodies and vocals seem more immediate: “Too Many Words”, for instance, feels contemporary with hints of pop; and there’s a touch of Julianne Regan about “Insane”. McCloskey must be the only American who sings in an English accent.

That's probably because of the time she spent here. Compostionally, though, the influences are more intentionally broad. Still, for all that clutter, the songs rarely feel patchwork or difficult. Quite the reverse – it's one of the prettiest albums of the year. In the blissful “Henry Lives" the song's verses find release in beautifuly layered choruses. And, the way McCloskey’s voice blends with Campbell Austin in the drone-like “The Calm” is awesome.

On many such tracks the sound feels as though it has been sculpted. It contrasts with McCloskey’s first album which was recorded quickly, on a low budget, in a Quaker Hall. For this record, though, she recorded sessions in Hamburg, Brighton and London with no fewer than 22 guest collaborators.Together they have created a record of great warmth and elegantly immersive moods.

Overleaf: watch Anja McCloskey's video for "Too Many Words"

Together they have created a record of great warmth and elegantly immersive moods


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature


A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway


Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.



This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman


Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.


Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.