EP Review first published by www.greenmanmusic.biz
The music industry does not have a fixed pace as such. Obviously it helps to be an established artist with a multi-platinum track record and world-wide fanbase if you want to take your own sweet time over your next album. David Bowie recently unveiled his first new record in ten years, but has a back-catalogue to die for and a solid and long recording history, and appears to have completed yet another excellent piece of work. The Stone Roses sophomore record “Second Coming” was released five and a half years after their debut, a time during which the musical landscape had changed and the band had undergone a traumatic period. However, it was still a credible record, even if it did not scale its predecessor’s heights and destroyed the band. At the other end of the spectrum lies Guns ‘n’ Roses (or Axl and friends), whose “Chinese Democracy” album was more than 15 years in the making (racking up a record $13m in costs) and was, frankly, awful in comparison to their classic debut, and even the subsequent efforts before Axl’s ego took over.
Some acts however, waste as little time as possible in getting new songs out there, releasing on an almost annual (or shorter) basis. And wasting no time at all are Anavae, a London based fusion rock outfit. Signing to influential Mancunian label LAB Records at the beginning of the year, their debut EP (or maxi-single?) is already finished and due for release in early February. Storm Chaser is a four track collection of songs that serve to provide a good idea of what this band is all about.
The single, Storm Chaser, is a high quality slice of power-pop that will invite the inevitable Paramore comparisons, although you cannot argue these, as any band with that modern punk-pop sound and featuring female vocals are always going to be measured against them. And they compare well, certainly much better than the huge number of wannabee’s littering the lower levels of the music scene currently. And so what is the difference with this band? Well, first and most obvious is the quality of Rebecca Need-Menear’s vocals. They have much more character within them than most singers posses, able to grasp the central melody and own it, working it round the instrumentation effortlessly. Musically speaking there is a bit more going on than the average as well, with a variety of guitar sounds used and mixing these carefully with various beeps and whistles of electronica.
That willingness to utilise the best of modern technology and a lack of fear to experiment becomes more apparent on the 3 following tracks (B-sides?) that have a more experimental approach, mixing up samples, synths and dub-step characteristics with the big rock anthems. “We aim to create sounds from the future” says Need-Menar and Ghosts in The Machine starts this off with a subtle injection of the techno stuff, sticking mainly with the anthemic rock stylings as the basis that keeps the track rumbling along. But then Aequilux grabs the bull by the horns, and goes full on dub-step, cleverly picking apart the bands core music and then stiching it back together with plenty of drops, bass and electro touches, but retaining the driving vocal and stabs of the guitar to remind you that this is a rock band you are listening too. Sounds messy, but works well, ending up as one of the better examples I have heard of dub-step in general. Final track This Light takes another tack, a gentle, acoustic Sheeran-esque song. And whilst it is a lovely ditty with crisp vocal harmonies, and nods to the techno fest you have just listened too with some gentle programming going on in the background, it also lacks some of the freshness and originality that marked the previous numbers, straying a little into a syrupy territory.
In the main this is a good calling card to launch the band on the next part of their journey. It will be interesting to see what direction, if any, they settle on, or if they remain a band that refuses to stick to any single sound. And if this is the route chosen, whether they can make it work and create a cohesive body of work, or just a Now compilation style mess. But as they have already been ‘introduced’ by the likes of Kerrang!, RockSound and Redbull Bedroom Jam , got slots on the OurZone tour this April with iDivide as well as racking up 12,500 Facebook likes and 350,000 video views in just their first year as a band, they are more than ready to hit the ground running .
Storm Chaser is released on February 10th on LAB Records (www.labrec.com)
More on Anavae at: www.facebook.com/anavae