This quirky great-lakes octet has certainly started their career with a wonderful and imaginative debut album. Brimming with all sorts of delightful vocals and melodies, it is obvious this band will have a bright future ahead of them.
Their music is probably best described as an Indie band with folk and orchestral influences, rarely getting "loud" enough to even be described as rock. It contains mostly acoustic guitars, lots of bells, pianos, trombones, clarinets, and flugelhorns (which I have never heard of until now), also many unconventional "instruments" mostly in the percussion area: feet stomping, clapping, chains, pipes, and what sounds like a bunch of drum sticks banging together in the opening "Ame."
Most of the vocals are performed by several members at once, and all eight members contribute to the vocals. There are often relatively higher-pitched vocals, and plenty of harmonization and backing vocals. They are always very playful and jaunty, almost evoking a carefree, perfect world with no worries. My favorite vocal performance is perhaps on "The Bruised Reed" or "Hanasakajijii (three: The Man Who Made Dead Trees Bloom)."
The poetic lyrics tell a story based on a Japanese fairy tale, and also contain some Japanese poetry.
Anathallo's song structures are quite unique, often taking sudden shifts and twists in the mood and tempo, creating an unpredictable sequence of melodies, but they are anything from random and unorganized. There is definitely a progressive logic with many great build-ups and arrangements. Although many of the songs are sparse and minimalist sounding at times, there's a fair share of wonderful collaborations where the band's musicianship is truly unveiled: most parts of "Hanasakajijii (four: a great wind, more ash)," which was the song that originally turned me onto the band, and the last couple minutes of "Hoodwink," to name a few.
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Gennesarat (going out over 30,000 fathoms of water)
Dokkoise House (with face covered)
Hanasakajijii (four: a great wind, more ash)
Hanasakajijii (one: an angry neighbor)
Hanasakajijii (two: floating world)
The Bruised Reed
Yuki! Yuki! Yuki!
Hanasakajijii (three: the man who made dead trees bloom)