Anathallo – Floating World
Release Date: February 25th, 2006
Record Label: Nettwerk
Where else might the perfect album come from other than Mount Pleasant, Michigan? Just as their geographical reference exudes, Anathallo’s newest release, Floating World is nothing short of a symphonic indie masterpiece pleasantly arranged for any high-held pedestal. In the last few years Anathallo have stayed far under the radar, self-releasing a litter of EPs—including Luminous Luminescence In The Atlas Position (2001), Sparrows LP (2002), A Holiday at the Sea EP (2003), Hymns EP (2004) and Entropy (2005, Split 12" with Javelins).
The roster of Anathallo reads more like a baseball lineup, which explains their ability to create such a vast and mysterious composition that flourishes in strings, horns and percussions. The multi-person register of Anathallo include just about everything and everyone—Matt Joynt (vocals/guitar/auxiliary percussion/piano), Andrew Dost – (piano/flugelhorn/auxiliary percussion/vocals), Bret Wallin (trombone/auxiliary percussion/vocals), Danny Bracken (guitar/auxiliary percussion/vocals), Seth Walker (bass/vocals), Jeremiah Johnson (drums), Greg Leppert (trumpet), Erica Froman (vocals)—including a harp, cello and trombone on specific tracks.
The brilliantly inconsistent ambiance on Floating World meets somewhere between a tribal symphony and modern theatre. While delicate shifts between trombone toots and piano chords flow exquisitely, therein lies an orchestra of vocals, not just male, not just female, nor just singluar or group but a combination of all, breeding an inventive composition that encapulates art, spirituality and redemption. For the youthful group, their maturity transcends through their music with the ability call upon Japanese culture, Judeo-Christian and biblical stories and modern American application.
"Ame" is a multi-percussion and keyboard intro the slowly seeds the beginning of the album. From there, we are introduced with an enchanting, soft-acoustic performance heeding lyrics that pertain to he song's title "Genessaret (going out over 30,000 fathoms of water)". The title refers the area where Jesus called on his disciples, then fishermen, to follow him. The song extends the reliance and dedication of faith involved in sacrifice for complete redemption: I want to skip like a stone from a stronger arm / Each one I throw is moving somewhere / Oh, let me go. I will go out, out, out, out past these yellow ropes / I am not afraid.
Four songs pay tribute to a Japanese tale, called Hanasakajijii, in which you can see the four parts scattered out of their chronology on the album. The story tells of a couple who adopt a stray dog that eventually finds buried treasure on their property, without their knowing. In an act of mischief, the neighbor finds out about the dog's capabilities and seizes the treasure from the couple. Though, the dog only discovers trash for the neigbor. In his discontent, the dog is killed, burned and its ashes buried. The man discovers his adopted dogs ashes, which bring enrichment to his land; helping dead trees fourish again. When these tracks played in order the details of the story are uncovered.
"Hoodwink" may be the most recognizable and harmonic track on the entre album. The vocal composition is layered with a single male voice and underlayed with a humming group chorus. The song relies on slowly strummed guitarwork and heavenly drumming that frame the entire track. Among other songs, "Yuki! Yuki! Yuki!", displays an instrumental that begins as a simple piano ballad soon adorned with horns then returns to a more uptempo beat on the piano keys. Ending the album, Anathallo exhibit the serenity of singing in Japanese with "Kasa no Hone (the Umbrella's Bones). Lightly tapped strumming match the charming percussion as tempo speeds up to a hasty conclusion.
Creativity has new boundaries.
Never have I heard the aesthetic of sound meet the aesthetic of beauty. Floating World is vulnerable yet strong, exciting yet serious. This sound bends genres and yet, cannot be contained by one. Anathallo are a new American cult classic. This is just the beginning.