CD Review: I Love You Avalanche – Fiction

Best album of the year. No question. The first impression that Fiction makes on you is stunning: it’s instantly captivating, catchy, and real. The production absolutely sparkles. The music of Fiction is a seamless tapestry of guitar, drums, bass, piano, and cello, with band leader Anna Arvan’s vocals taking center stage: sometimes upbeat, sometimes wistful, but always rich with emotion and humanity.

Arvan has a deceptively commanding voice, immediately soft and inviting but bolstered with a confidence and depth that makes her lyrics all the more relatable. Her songs have heart and soul, there is a real voice behind them crying out, albeit in a reserved sort of melancholy. They’re never musical indulgences, the lush instrumentation remains a backdrop for the cheekily confessional lyrics. And rest assured, the music on its own is terrific, but Arvan’s command of words is ultimately what makes I Love You Avalanche so important. Some of these songs are absolutely tearjerking. Who can’t relate to a time when “the emotions of a person you have ceased to love become silly”? Or realizing a relationship isn’t going to work out? Or seeing yourself looking for the same person over and over and being disappointed every time? Or watching a younger sibling grow up and being scared for them? The wry irony of the album’s title is that these are very real emotions, and one suspects very real stories. And the sardonic self-distance with which Arvan presents her songs of love and loss takes them far beyond mere confessionals.

Sometimes Fiction speaks where mere facts are not enough. The liner notes begin by thanking a recently born baby, and end by thanking a loved one who has passed on. I don’t know if that’s a relevant detail, but I feel like it is. This is the kind of record that makes you want to find the little things that matter. Fiction has thus far been underappreciated in Bellingham as of its release in April. Let’s change that, folks. It is probably the best collection of music in this town in a good long time.