Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Review: Anathallo - Canopy Glow (* * * *)

I had seen so much written about Anathallo's new album, Canopy Glow, around the blogosphere recently that I decided I better check it out. I was a bit surprised that I'd never heard of these guys; apparently they've released several EPs and a full-length debut a couple years ago that garnered them quite a few fans. Anathallo is a collection of multi-instrumentalists led by singers Matt Joynt and Erica Froman that remind me a more organic version of Stars. Their sophomore effort is a beautiful indie pop album with lush instrumentation and plenty of boy/girl harmonies.

Canopy Glow is a decidedly low-key affair, relying on vocals and percussion to drive much of the music, though complex horn, guitar, and piano arrangements fill out the songs and provide some needed variation. Even at their most urgent, Anathallo still sound almost too relaxed, but the weightless, delicate feel of the music has a captivating quality to it if you pay proper attention. Highlights include "The River," a slow-building orchestral anthem, the more straightforward "All The First Pages" and the appropriately titled "Bells." As I mentioned, the vocals are the real centerpiece here, with constant harmony and unusual, yet arresting, melodies.

Lyrically, Anathallo are out there, telling strange stories of being "baptized by a dollop from a Cool Whip bowl," and singing lines like "feed the roots and honor the tongues of the animals." Fortunately, the lyrics blend well with the music, creating fantastically imagined scenes with vivid, if sometimes odd, detail. The album definitely takes a few spins to fully appreciate, but the intricate and beautiful compositions are worth the investment.

Canopy Glow is a must-hear for fans of bands like Stars and New Pornographers, or anyone looking for an enjoyable batch of low-key, well-crafted indie tunes.

Anathallo's MySpace


Anonymous said...

Most of what is being written regarding this album seems to be predisposed to love it or hate it. This is one of the first objective sounding reviews i've read.
Well done!

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