Anna Meredith: FIBS (Black Prince Fury) - Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019  

Anna Meredith

FIBS

Black Prince Fury

Oct 23, 2019 Issue #66 - My Favorite Album - Angel Olsen and Sleater-Kinney Bookmark and Share


"Genius" is a word, so overused and misplaced, but in the case of Anna Meredith there is a good case for its use. In her hands, sound is malleable, something to be shaped into new forms.

FIBS, her second album, builds on the brilliance of 2016's Varmints, but is in no way a "follow-up." It's is a 45-minute, polyrhythmic, Technicolor explosion of ideas and styles that condenses her 20 years of composing, performing, and producing to create a work of wonder.

Dropping the old Midi-patches of her debut, Meredith has expanded the sonic palette to paint a more vivid, more human picture while retaining the mechanised strangeness. This is Varmints augmented and upgraded. Opener "Sawbones" incorporates the lifting synth line from Varmints' mega-banger "Nautilus" as the song dissipates, sonically bombing her old work into oblivion, starting again. Meredith is clearly announcing this is not more of the same.

A wider range of instruments both electronic and traditional makes FIBS a richer experience and adds moments of beauty. The floating cello on "moonsmoons'" battles with glitches and oscillating synth lines to create future classical sounds that enthral.

FIBS is packed with influence touch points while always sounding utterly unique. As a deeply maximalist arranger Meredith travels from synthwave on "Calion," to Regency era keys meets math rock on "Bump" and, even sweet electronic pop on the likes of "Inhale Exhale" and "Ribbons."

Meredith's vocal also takes more prominence, setting herself up as a potential mainstream pop star should that ever be something she wanted to be. Pop melodies and hooks dot in and out of the experimental noise, making FIBS a more accessible record for the casual listener.

Single "Paramour" is a kaleidoscopic genre-journey that collides the bombastic synths of Varmints material with motoric rhythms and Battles circa Mirrored guitars. It's a big tune that more than matches its clear ambition.

FIBS revels in toying with expectations and uncovers more wonders with every listen. (www.annameredith.com

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10



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