Friday, November 21, 2008

Anathallo | Canopy Glow

Anathallo is one of my five favorite bands. They're in elite company with Sufjan, Radiohead, Wilco and either Sigur Ros or the Decemberists. Canopy Glow is their second full-length album, a follow up to my favorite album of 2006, Floating World. Though the album artwork doesn't compare, the music is just as moving and innovative, and perhaps even better for its concerted focus on the songs. Whereas the subtext, the Japanese folktale Hanasakajiji occasionally overwhelmed the individual songs on Floating World, on Canopy Glow, the songs simply breathe and speak for themselves.

And they speak volumes. I have yet to analyze the lyrics in depth, but the melodies, song structures and musical flow of this album are a force to be reckoned with. The backing vocals of lone female band member Erica Forman are brought into the lead at times, and brilliantly complement the complex tenor of lead vocalist Matt Joynt. As always, the percussion patterns are difficult to master (as I've learned trying to drum along on my steering wheel), the textured sound is woven together like a fine Persian rug (I'm an expert at simile), and yet the melodies are catchy enough to spark the interest of a two-year old (my daughter can't get enough of the opening lines of "Italo"). Also, "All the First Pages" may be my new favorite song. I've listened to it over a dozen times at this point, and each time I feel like I'm going to have a seizure as the music somehow threatens to deconstruct my physical existence.

So consider this a recommendation. But I'm not the only one recommending it. Buy it at your local indie record store or buy it straight from the band's website (here). Do it. Do it. Do it.

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