Posted by: will | August 1, 2006



Anathallo “Floating World” (Artist Friendship/Nettwork America)

Buy it at Insound!

Floating World is as eclectic a release as you will find in 2006. I have struggled to find the words to describe the album since I picked it up after seeing Anathallo play a few months ago. As breathtaking as the album is, the live show is even more powerful. With loose choreographed singing, clapping and dancing, the band’s show comes off as more of a performance art piece than anything else. It truly is an incredible experience to witness the band perform. However, Floating World does a commendable job in relaying Anathallo’s live brilliance.

The album starts off with the clicking of drumsticks and rolls effortlessly into the delicate second track “Genessaret (Going Out Over 30,000 Fathoms Of Water)” which unfolds at its own deliberate pace. The sound of chains in the background carries over into the beautiful song “Hoodwink”, which is probably the most memorable of tracks on Floating World. The post-rock instrumental bridge to the song shows how effortlessly the band can switch their styles into something remarkably fluid. Many songs on the album have a higher, spiritual feeling and are intertwined with Japanese folklore. The album uses a wide array of instruments and textures to convey their music to magnificent results. With all that is involved on Floating World, it’s the smooth vocals of Matt Joynt that seem to hold it all together. He recalls some of the more impassioned singers of the emo genre in his confident delivery. “By Number” employs a great deal of horns before settling into something more ordinary. Just when you think the band may have lost their panache, the song ends in a patented group shout along. “Dokkoise House (With Face Covered)” starts off with some group clapping before the horns and strings come in to build up to the beginning vocals of Joynt. This song along with the next track, “Hanasakajijii (Four: A Great Wind, More Ash)” really recalls the angelic quality of an artist like Sufjan Stevens. “The Bruised Reed” is sprinkled with jumpy horn lines during the breaks from Joynt’s cracking vulnerable voice. This song plays back and forth with tempo more than any song on the album. The track, “Kasa no Hone (The Umbrella’s Bones)”, which is sung in Japanese closes the album on an impeccable high.

If anything, Anathallo are an ambitious group who has created something unique in “rock” music. I cannot imagine all the thought and ambition that must have gone into Floating World. It’s astounding and completely refreshing to see a band immersing themselves so deeply in their art. At nearly 55 minutes, the band does play it awfully close to the tedious line at times. However, with their obvious sincerity they manage to stay above self-indulgence for the most part. Floating World is for music listeners out there who want to challenge themselves with something more than a catchy chorus. For those willing to go along for the ride, the rewards are great indeed.

RIYL: Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists, Animal Collective

Listen: Anathallo – Hoodwink (mp3)


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