Anathema - 'Distant Satellites'

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Anathema - 'Distant Satellites'

Little short of perfection.

Liverpool’s Anathema are the best kept secret in British music. A band who have quietly over the last five or six years, made some of the most timeless sounding albums released in the U.K. These CD’s have enthralled and hypnotized anyone who has heard them, so it is a strange thing then, that Anathema aren’t a name on everyone’s lips and given the strength of their last few releases this defies logic. They are a band apart, creating sonic soundscapes that wash over you, using an ethereal paintbrush, dipped into a musical palate that sets the senses reeling as all beautiful music/art should.

‘Distant Satellites’ is their new album and it continues the band’s journey and what Vincent, Daniel and Jamie Cavanagh, Lee and John Douglas and Daniel Cardoso have created on ‘Distant…’ is little short of perfection. Trying then to choose from this perfection is hard, so instead I’ll just tell you about some of my favourites.

Opening the album with ‘The Lost Song Parts 1 & 2’ we find the band at first in an upbeat yet contemplative mood, with both Vincent Cavanagh and Lee Douglas vocals complementing not just each other but the all-encompassing orchestral refrains of the songs as they are played. ‘Ariel’ is a track that starts slowly with yet more wonderful plaintive vocals from them both , which helps the song to build, grow and flourish as it progresses, drawing the sweeping keyboards and intricate drum patterns of Cardoso and John Douglas in, until it finishes with a powerful dramatic crescendo. ‘Anathema’ sees the band playing to their strengths; strong complex melodies, gorgeous piano interludes and superlative vocals all vie for first place, as the track once again develops over its length.

Strangely, the band have also decided to thrown in a massive swerve to their music with ‘You’re Not Alone’, ‘Distant Satellites’ and ‘Take Shelter’. These songs see the band utilising dance and drum beats to drive the tracks forward. That they work with Anathemas’ Progressive style of music is tantamount to the song-writing quality, that they and this album offer the listener. However, as much as I like them, I can see many fans thinking that this might be a step too far for them to go. But don’t let yourself be one of the detractors because these three songs are some of the strongest the band has recorded and it just shows another side, to their ever varying approach to music.

Beauty as they say is in the eye of the beholder or in this case the ear; and every time I get a chance to listen to something new from Anathema, I hear just that – beauty.

Ian Johnson


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