Release Date: Nov 18, 2008
Record label: Anticon
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop
Music geeks create something utterly originalSufjan Stevens propped open the door to the marching-band practice room earlier this decade, and since then several of his band-camp compatriots have strutted out onto the wider field of popular music. Chicago septet Anathallo is at the head of this geeky class, and the band upholds its reputation on sophomore album Canopy Glow. Like its predecessor, 2006’s Floating World, the band’s latest album mixes sensitive folkie singer/songwriter fare with strings, horns and all manner of hand percussion, creating a dizzying and frequently gorgeous mashup that splits the difference between Animal Collective, the Salvation Army band and the neighborhood glee club.
Working around an open-door policy with its members and having produced whimsical, eclectic and often downright baffling indie-pop for many-a-year now, that the new album from Michigan-formed, Chicago-based collective Anathallo (and first that sees them part of the widely admired anticon. roster) initially proves impenetrable should come as little surprise to many. Negating the disturbing, photo-realistic painting that adorns its cover for now, let’s concentrate on the positives.
Anathallo’s sophomore release, Canopy Glow, leaves a feeling of something left undone. This album thematically concerned with death may describe a life unfinished: a life where great destinations sat on the horizon like an unreachable oasis. Like a snow-capped mountain on the highest windswept… you get the idea. These sentiments are the kind of wide-eyed wonderment Anathallo trades in, even when riffing on the darkest of concepts, on an occasionally intriguing but ultimately derivative album.