Album Review: Anika // Change

Differing entirely from the rate at which more commercial artists release new music, Anika returns with her first solo LP in just over a decade. A move to the countryside and the onset of a global pandemic proved to be the push that the album, which had been in the works for some time, needed to arrive at fruition.

Change is a stark exploration of what it means to emotively adapt in all forms of relationships – personal, political and even with the inner self when navigating the current, turbulent global climate. On each track a dense layering of fragmented atmospheric tones are webbed within ruminations on themes ranging from the current need for, and lack of, climate action on the mobilising ‘Naysayer’, to the obtuse criticality of self on ‘Sand Witches’. Linking each track is the undercurrent motif of change and how it informs an individual’s perspectives.

Title track ‘Change’ has a shimmering depth provided by synths that glide over undulating organ tones that propose and then mirror the transition from cynicism [people don’t change that’s what they say]- to optimism [I think we have it all inside // I think we can learn from each other // I think we can change]. Inspired by the exposure of Trump’s true evil at the end of his term and how evil is often trialled by the same group as the perpetrators, the track intends to offer a hopefully outlook.

Anika’s distinct English/German monotonal twang carries the album and undercurrent of optimism, whilst also somehow effectively striking a balance between demure and persuasive. At points the lyrical form is often drastically simplistic compared to the textured array of nuanced beats, hypnotic drums and tender strums that have come to characterise Anika’s sound over the years, but this seems deliberate. Tracks such as ‘Critical’ and ‘Freedom’ require complete concentration from the outset in order to discern the full range of distinct euphonious tones that swiftly carry most tracks to a climax.

On the other hand, the psych-esque electronic pulse on accusing opener ‘Finger Pies’ engages from the outset. By comparing the adept juxtaposition of ‘Finger Pies’ to the acoustic resonance on closing track ‘Wait For Something’, the perfect duality between melancholy and confident idealism which resides in all facets of the album can be seen. It’s not often that albums with such an apparent theme can deliver so much variation throughout, whilst also providing a rich electronic soundscape that escapes monotony but Anika has pulled all of these threads together to create an album which does exactly that.

photo credit: Sven Gutjahr

Author avatar
Daisy Woodley

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