Release Date: Oct 25, 2019
Record label: Moshi Moshi Records
Calling this a song is perhaps too reductive. It's more of a monstrous beast; an earth-shaking barrage of rumbling electronics that sits in stark contrast to the classical compositions Meredith was mostly known for up until its 2012 release. So all-consuming is its power that it's had three life spans, it's strength and brutality never waning with each one.
Merging elements of pop, electronic, and classical music into a short-form, compositional indie electronica, British composer Anna Meredith made her full-length debut with Varmints in 2016. Between its arrival and the release of the follow-up, among other projects, Meredith reimagined Vivaldi's Four Seasons for an immersive multimedia event (and later recording), she composed her first film score (Eighth Grade), she opened the Proms with a piece commemorating the end of World War I, and was made an MBE. She still managed to prepare a second solo album before the end of the decade.
Anna Meredith went into the making of this second full-length without the distinct advantage that she held as she was putting together 2016's 'Varmints' - relative anonymity. That album earned her an avalanche of plaudits, meaning that there is already a built-in audience for 'FIBS', and with it a bar of expectation that was lofty enough even before she raised it higher still with last year's superb score for Bo Burnham's 'Eighth Grade'. Her response to the pressure? If everything was already turned up to eleven on 'Varmints', consider it cranked to twelve on FIBS.
"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.
N ot many musicians are made an MBE before they've released their second album, but Anna Meredith was given the honour this summer. Yet to frame the Scottish composer's career in terms of solo records alone is rather misleading. The 41-year-old already had a storied career as a divisively experimental classical composer when she released her 2016 debut Varmints, an album whose synth-heavy confections were so maximalist and frenetic they often felt frighteningly unpredictable.
Navigating both politics and pop culture right now can feel like swimming through a swampy, false dichotomy, a goopy trilemma of lies, sinister truths, and mistruths. This is the era of the feted grifter, personal brands crafted on identity-sucking platforms, of the celebrity politician and governments welcoming their own evisceration. But what's in a white lie to soothe and comfort? An expertly constructed fable inflated and exaggerated to entertain? Fibs, Anna Meredith shares in a statement included in the press release, are "lies - but nice friendly lies, little stories and constructions and daydreams and narratives that you make for yourself or you tell yourself".