Thursday, April 5, 2012

REVIEW// Anison: Memory Flashes

I've been meaning to review Anison's anticipated debut 'Memory Flashes' for a while, my lack of impetus a wholly embarrassing flaw. Nevertheless, the album has managed to stack up quite a number of plays in the time I've had it, which is reflective if not of its quality than of its instant accessibility. Bands like Bloc Party and Muse echo through the LP, hints of Radiohead bouncing off harder, indie-rock sensibilities. An undeniable technical ability reveals itself in the varied instrumentation too, piano and electronic sounds offsetting competent guitar and drum work. Superb synths are an unsurprising inclusion given producer Steve Lyon's work with Depeche Mode, though radiating a much lighter tone! With all my name-dropping however, do Anison fall foul to the swell of disappointment and unfulfilled anticipation? Thankfully, I don't think this quartet does. Instead, their influences provide both individuality and a comfortable familiarity.

Opening with 'Repeat The Process', Anison's flirtation with Muse is at its most prominent. Spacey whirls and subsequent harmonies usher in the lead vocals, wistfully prolonged notes layered over a balanced guitar-driven equilibrium. Pile on the drums and builds and soon the scales tip, falling into a bombastic and climactic chorus. Easily comparable to Matt Bellamy, the singing yearns, pushed forward by barely-controlled rage. 'Sail Back to Sleep' follows with much the same structure, forceful refrains highlighting the softer interludes with an admirable flourish. Closing with an impressive guitar, 'Spatial Awareness' immediately brings the drums to the forefront of the music. "Tell tales of liquid splendor" goes one line, an undulating, subtle despondency prevailing beneath the surface. The higher pitch and slow tempo of 'The Colour Red' mark an interesting departure from the preceding numbers, 'The Mariachi's European-sounding guitar and 'Pedestrian Thespian's compounding intensity launching the LP's second half well!

'Statuettes' acoustic flair is succeeded by 'Revert To Type's quietly sinister undertones. The guitar hums and the harmonies throb, the sound escalating quickly from solemn to explosive by way of a stark drum phrase. Anison at their best, the band manage to incorporate some relatively elaborate instrumentation into a song that succeeds in its almost primal, energetic pace. 'Fluidity' calms to a danceable lull, while the singing recalls Muse once again, semi-ethereal backing vocals well-implemented. 'Imaginary Lists' closes 'Memory Flashes' on a less potent note than initially expected, a certain predictability all too easy to pluck out. A static-fuelled ending brings the album to a definite conclusion however, which did coax a replay of the ten tracks on more than one occasion. In my conclusion, Anison are certainly worth a listen. Their lead singer doesn't have a strikingly unique voice, but the band have crafted a record that utilises instead both their ability to play and their ability to construct a heart-felt and memorable set of tracks. The album is released at the end of this month, so while you wait in eager anticipation, watch 'Fluidity' below!