Anna Coddington released her critically acclaimed sophomore album Cat & Bird in Feb last year, firmly establishing herself as an artist of note in her homeland. Described by critics as ‘a balanced set of exceptional indie pop’ (Waikato Times), ‘breathtaking’ (Yahoo Entertainment), and ‘captivating, creative, thoughtful, harmonious and sophisticated’ (M2 Magazine), Cat & Bird was mostly written during mornings spent on the back deck with guitar, pen and paper, scribbling ideas and thoughts that arose in a pre-coffee, early morning haze, and dreams she didn’t want to forget. It was a ritual of sorts, and one that would usually be followed by afternoons in the dark of her home studio, developing and realising these new ideas.
Recorded between Roundhead Studios and her home studio in Auckland, Anna co-produced the album with her guitarist Ned Ngatae. While a lot had changed in her life and songwriting approach since the release of her 2008 debut The Lake, Anna’s voice and the melodies she has created for Cat & Bird continue to glide throughout the ether in splendid fashion. ‘A lot of these songs are me imagining what it would be like to be someone else, or taking a small emotion or thought and amplifying it,’ Anna says. ‘A lot of them are celebrations and assurances and assertions.’
Combining a quirky pop style with elements of acoustic balladry, throughout Cat & Bird we hear guitar driven indie songs and stories with the meaning just slightly out of complete grasp. But there lies room for the imagination of listeners as to what Anna is or isn’t saying. The results are songs like the upbeat two minute blast of first single ‘Bolt’, the haunting folk ode of ‘Lights Ahead’ with lyrics ‘Write your name on my arm, so I don’t forget who you are…’, and the irresistible title track ‘Cat & Bird’ which tells the story of unrequited love.
Cat & Bird boasts crunchy guitars and big dynamics, and shines with the talents of Anna’s band: guitarist and co-producer Ned Ngatae, drummer Riki Gooch (Eru Dangerspiel, Trinity Roots), bass player Mike Hall (Nightchoir, Pluto) and keyboardist/vocalist extraordinaire LA Mitchell (Dave Dobbyn, The Dukes).
Anna grew up in the small surf town of Raglan, but has established a reputation as one of New Zealand’s true songwriters and performers. She was recently named for the second year in a row as a Top 20 finalist for the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll Award for songwriting, this time for the single ‘Little Islands’, and was also named Best Māori Female Solo Artist at last year’s Waiata Māori Music Awards.
The last few years have seen Anna Coddington touring, performing with NZ’s favourite collaborative super-groups Fly My Pretties and Eru Dangerspiel, supporting the one and only Tom Jones, and appearing at NZ’s leading music and arts festivals including Rhythm & Vines and WOMAD. Anna has recently finished touring with Fly My Pretties 4, and performing in Australia to promote the recent release there of Cat & Bird. She plans to spend this summer touring her beloved homeland Aotearoa.