Anika: Change (Sacred Bones/Invada) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Anika

Change

Sacred Bones/Invada

Aug 18, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Annika Henderson, better known to fans under the moniker Anika, has returned 11 years after her self-titled debut with her second solo studio album Change. The record, which was brought to life in Berlin music studios, blends the pulsing sonics of the city’s club scene with Henderson’s hypnotically calming vocals. On paper, the two are different paths, but in the context of Change and Anika, it proves to be the perfect combination.

Henderson, who was born in England, has been an agent of change in a way. Her career started as a political journalist, before meeting Portishead’s Geoff Barrow who catalyzed her shift into music, looking for a vocalist for his side band BEAK>. However, it was that start as a writer that added to her compelling power, introducing her to Berlin’s world of electronic music and applying her poetics to lyricism instead.

Despite the long gap between albums, Anika hasn’t seemed to lose any major momentum when it comes to her creative identity—at least from what we can tell on the surface. However, on Change, it also is an album that, despite taking a long time to manifest, feels like the minor details that made her pop out are missing. While Anika was gritty and prioritized each song having an individual identity, Change leans heavily into cohesion and repetition. There is the potential of overlap for listeners who like both, but it isn’t for everyone.

That said, the first time Change played through my headphones was through a long walk through Central Park. It’s possibly the most unexpected place to hear one of Henderson’s albums due to the heavy electronics, but somehow it worked. Throughout the album, especially on the opening track “Finger Pies,” it’s just one example of its countering meditative nature, as her voice shifts from singing to whisper (and back again) over a steady drum loop. The best comparison I could draw Change to is London Grammar’s debut, If You Wait, with a hint of the experimental nature of Sparks—mainly because Edgar Wright’s documentary makes you notice their influence in almost every musician afterward.

Thematically, Henderson grapples emotionally with ignoring red flags and losing someone on “Never Coming Back” to embracing the darkness of power on the gloomy-but-sleek “Rights.” By the time of the album’s closer, “Wait For Something,” it already feels incredibly different from the rest of Change. Initially backed by a light guitar, there is tension as the song progresses because listeners also are waiting for something—a burst of intensity that never does arrive.

However, that seems to be the point of “Wait For Something,” made clear by the album’s final line, “Wait… and see.” While we’re waiting for a change to occur within the song, to mirror the rest of the album’s sound, it never comes. Henderson seems to be aware of that, providing both listeners and herself hope that it is on the horizon. We just need to keep our eyes open when it does. (www.anika.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 4/10



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