Circles, as the name suggests, is in many ways geometrically inspired: repeating sequences, tessellating guitar lines, elliptical time signatures form Anechois’ bordering-on obsessive brand of progressive rock. It is a beautifully concise record, in that not a single note, beat or word appears excessive.
In this seven-track EP, released for Lomography’s Blue Hour Sessions, Anechois seems to be seeking a sense of clarity above all – instead of obscuring or obfuscating, as is the temptation for many technically sophisticated bands, the songs are illuminatingly transparent. The acoustic guitar figures, especially in ‘Emma’, sound especially blithe and pure; set against a susurrus of synths, they break forth in simple and liberated joy. There is, however, an undercurrent of pensive awareness, a vague sense of fleeting: a lyric in ‘Reverse’ goes, ‘If only I could see your smile, it hides when the dawn breaks.’
Anechois maintains an acute grasp of balance throughout, with vocals that are sparsely spaced, amidst dense and thickening textures. The standout track ‘Thumbprints’, is driven by a rhythmic, punctuating bass, which builds up to the climax of the EP – a beatific brilliance of sound that is fully and suddenly unleashed. The vocals of frontman Haziq echo resoundingly. The effect is incredibly cinematic; it’s easy to lose yourself in its midst.
The songs are lyrically fragmented, terse and vague. There’s some sense of contemplation, as if one were observing the world from a distance, a detached abstractedness. There are some meaningful turns of phrase: ‘We are running around in circles, but we barely reach the surface’ in the titular track, hints at the meaninglessness, or circularity, of routine, which possibly is the very essence of the EP.
This third EP from Anechois seems in some way to reflect the raw, pure side of the band, capturing a touching honesty that is more apparent than in their previous releases. It takes several listens to fully appreciate their remarkable technique and skill, so effortlessly rendered; there is also a meticulous attention to detail throughout. This is a record that deserves to be put on repeat.
Listen to: ‘Emma’, ‘Thumbprints’, ‘Circles’
By Li Shuen Lam