Anavae – ’45’

By Eloise Bulmer

An album from Anavae has been whispered about for years. The band have been staples of the UK alt-rock and live scene since their debut in 2012, yet the full-length has eluded them – until now, with the release of ’45’.

The album leans into creepy aesthetics, with the lyrics “I feel sick in your presence” and “I wanna skin you alive” both appearing in the first two tracks. These ‘something’s not quite right’ feelings are heightened in the sonic atmosphere of the tracks, with wordless melodies and relentless, marching drum beats both focal points of ‘Afraid’. ‘High’ takes a departure from the more obvious tricks, instead focusing on a feeling of desolation and loss to achieve this atmosphere as vocalist Rebecca Need-Menear caterwauls over guitars crashing like tidal waves – it’s the first track on the album that calls for an immediate replay. Centrepiece of the album ‘Not Enough’ is the highlight, with airy synth strikes underpinning the track as guitar and vocals achieve a dazzling balance between pop melodies and angsty guitars, with a rock-drop that could soundtrack any on-screen drama.

Found on the second half of ’45’, the heavy electronic shudder of ‘Dirt’ soon gives way to a chorus full of guitars and heady vocals; the same in ‘Never Love Again’. There’s no denying it’s a formula they do well, and one that shows off their honed blending of electronic and rock elements, but more deviation from it on a full-length would be welcome. ‘California’ is a track that does walk a different path, focusing on a different atmosphere all together with a sparse arrangement in places, whilst drum machines and synths are utilised to tell a story in other places – it’s a welcome change of pace to close out the album.

As a whole, ’45’ shows off what this band have been refining since their inception, and as their first full-length album is definitely worth the wait it’s been to hear it –now comes the wait to see what Anavae do now they have their debut album as a touchstone to create from.

ELOISE BULMER

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