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Anathallo: Canopy Glow
She was crossing a river and the current swept her away. Due to the weight of her pack, she couldn't get to a bank and was certain that she was going to die. Upon that realization, she leaned back, calmed her senses and enjoyed what she thought would be her last living moments... she observed everything with a concentrated mindfulness as she passed underneath the glow of light pouring through the canopy of leaves.But it turns out she didn't die. "Cafetorium": Heh, the "chorus" on this one sounds so indie-pop. What makes this number is the imposing brass in the second half. "Sleeping Torpor": Here's a 'thallo first—Erica gets some prominent vocal parts. In fact, I think she's got some Self-Backing Vocalist shenanigans going on. "All the First Pages": Funny story: I saw 'thallo live, touring to support this album. They introduced this song by explaining that it was about an incident where Neil Armstrong, future astronaut, lost his ring finger to a grain truck. Then they started playing, and the very first words were:
An astronaut / lost his ring finger / to the back of a grain truckOh, Anathallo. "John J. Audubon": Really, this is the most bombastic track on the album. And it's purely because of the vocal delivery. And the fact that this is them at their most bombastic just goes to show how much they've mellowed out since the old days. "Bells": The vocals here are a lot like on "Northern Lights", but there's also strings and... um... some other percussion instrument whose name I can't remember. These give the song a bit more structure, so the vocals have free license to fly all over the place. Lovely stuff. "Tower of Babel": Another beat-deficient song. This doesn't do anything, it's just kind of there. Overall, this is great stuff, and Anathallo pulled off their New Sound Album remarkably well. It's funny that the songs sound a lot poppier than their prior efforts, but the song structures honestly aren't that different from their prior albums, just shorter. I would say this is a better album than Floating World. How does it stack up against Sparrows or A Holiday at Sea? Well, it's not a fair comparison to make, because this is Baroque Pop and those were Post-Rock(ish)... but I'll make it anyway. The old stuff was better. This was their last album. Anathallo went on an indefinite hiatus in 2010. If you only listen to one track, listen to: "The River", natch. Or maybe "Bells".
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