“dark of day and light of night
perfume circling around my brain
draws me in again
hopeless, helpless soul unchained
I succumb again
Come to me and make me blind
Dark-eyed dream of mine”
[excerpt lyrics: “What Should But Did Not Die” by Jan Erik Liljeström]
Besides the “Live EP” and the official bootleg “Live in Japan”, the Swedish Anekdoten made three studio albums so far. After their amazing debut album “Vemod” (1993) and the hectic “Nucleus” (1995), “From within” (1999) was their latest studio album. But now there is a brand new Anekdoten album entitled “Gravity”. Because Anekdoten’s music is developing further, this album will generate several opinions from the critic’s and fans I think.
Nicklas Barker – voice, guitars, Mellotron, Rhodes, Farfisa; Anna Sofi Dahlberg – Mellotron, voice, piano, Farfisa, organ; Jan Erik Liljeström – bass, voice; Peter Nordins – drums & cymbals, vibraphone, Mellotron.
The first thing you will notice when you read the credits on the CD booklet is that Anna doesn’t play the Cello on this album but has become a full worthy keyboard player. To be honest with you, I like the classical touch a cello can give to prog music. A good example is the Hungarian band After Crying (new album review in the next progVisions update!). The sound pallet could be a little broader, but if you listen to the album you don’t really miss it that much. In return you get a broad carpet of Mellotron sounds. If you like this ancient instrument, this is an album for you!
The albums opens with a track called “Monolith” that fits nicely next to the songs from their previous album “From within”. The music is melodic and the rhythm section swings. The delicate sound of the vibraphone gives the slow parts some extra detail. The broad Mellotron carpet is singing thru the music with a beautiful melody. The opener is one of the heaviest pieces of the album. In the next track “Ricochet” you can already hear that the music has become more melodic, softer than and not as edgy as the first two albums’. In my opinion this will bring Anekdoten’s music to a broader audience. The music is now 100% Anekdoten music and not Anekdoten with a percentage of King Crimson. “The war is over” has acoustic guitars, percussion and melodic vocals with several voices. The vocals on this album are better than ever before. Next is the slow and dark “What should but did not die”. The keyboards are generating the cello sound here … has Anna put the cello in the Mellotron? The middle section of the piece is more up-tempo and heavier. “SW4” has a slow rhythm and spacey sound. Lovers of the old edgy Anekdoten will have a problem with this track. But the title track “Gravity” is compared to the previous one, from another world. Delicious melodic Mellotron carpets, edgy guitar work and a pulsing rhythm section. The ending of the piece is full and a little bit bombastic. The contrast with the opening of the next track “The games we play” is very big. This is a slow and almost acoustic and spacey track I would have expected on a Porcupine Tree album. The opening of the instrumental “Seljak” is more up-tempo and the Mellotron is singing again. The vibraphone is also present in this real Anekdoten track that closes this short (46:24) album.
“Gravity” is a softer version of Anekdoten than we knew until now. With compositions like “Monolith”, “Gravity” and “Seljak” as the most heavy and most familiar tracks. The music of Anekdoten is not so edgy anymore. The advantage is that probably more people will be attracted to their music. Some fans from the early days will be a little bit disappointed. I heard someone say that Anekdoten is not making progressive music anymore but I don’t agree with him. If the band would make the same album twice, that would be not progressive! The sound of this mature band (they exist already 10 years!) is just moving into another direction. For fans of the Mellotron this album is again a must. But you decide if you want to buy this in my opinion very strong Symphonic Prog album.