Ana Egge has more than just her way with words. There’s an ever-interesting mastery over the music as well. Together, her creative talents are what make Between Us such a layered and lovely listening experience.
Between Us is Egge’s is her 12th full-length studio album. By this point, most artists have long since run out of words to say or ways to say them. Her longevity in the business speaks to her deep creative well and her determined sonic exploration.
Musical examples of both are immediately found on Between Us. A mid-tempo snare sets the groove for “Wait a Minute” alongside Michael Isvara Montgomery’s notable bass work, a seductive canvas for the impressive brass segment that serves as the track’s focal point. Egge uses the jazzier vehicle to remind us of the need to slow down and listen. She reminds us, “If you want to move, it has to get uncomfortable.”
Most of these 11 tracks were co-written with Irish singer-songwriter Mick Flannery over Zoom sessions during the pandemic. In addition, some impressive players entered Egge’s orbit for the first time, giving the album greater breadth.
The percussive flute — yes, a percussive flute — played by Ahn Phung on “You Hurt Me,” the compelling mix of synth and horns on “Want Your Attention,” the steel guitar by Jonny Lam on “Lie Lie Lie”: These musical choices range from flourishes to front-and-center, but they’re all seasoned and smart selections that truly make the record.
Lyrically speaking, Egge’s catalog is already filled with relational insights, and Between Us holds a few more. “The Machine” paints a simple scene of a partner working on old car engines and turns it into a reflection on our inability to listen and comprehend the obvious changes coming our way. “You could understand me but you would have to try,” she laments.
Egge’s closing selection is a somber one, a eulogy for a nephew who tragically passed away at a young age. “We thought that you would shine on and on,” she sings on “We Lay Roses.” It’s a meaningful track that holds considerable power over the listener. Yet it’s also a reminder that for all of our stylish choices and interesting turns, Egge is at her core a substantive artist. Maybe that is what 12 albums released speaks to more than anything else.