Close your eyes and think of Christmas with Burberry…
An album that deserves your love...
At some point in the last two years, in a church-cum-rehearsal room in Chicago, something approaching the divine occurred, and it came to be known as ‘Canopy Glow’. Listening to the second album from Michigan septet Anathallo is like bathing in morning sunshine filtered through stained glass, beams of warmth dancing from all angles.
This is music that churns slowly, delivered at the same serene pace at which it was apparently composed. From the first teasing peals of piano that rouse opening number ‘Noni's Field’ into life to the darting choral folk of ‘John J Audobon’, and finally via the valedictory hymn ‘Tower of Babel’, ‘Canopy Glow’ is a paradise that we are privileged to be able to explore. The route is turbulent, and signposted with ghosts - from the dead grandfather of the opening track to "the exhausted" of ‘Sleeping Torpor’ - but the promise of otherworldly riches is never far away.
Anathallo's latest release adds scope and softens the focus after their previous album ‘Floating World’ (their first to receive a widespread release), making for a far more demanding, but ultimately more rewarding, listen. Fleet-footed vocals dash through the songs, feeding a sense of urgency to the otherwise unflustered arrangements. Even at the album's least inspirational points, such as the B-plus ambience of ‘Bells’, the orchestration swells without bellowing, the strands of strings and brass diffusing easefully into the band's close vocal harmonies.
And yet, there will be voices in some quarters that mutter the word Anathallo with caution. Despite boasting an ever-more eclectic roster, there is a feeling that Anticon may have been taking a gamble signing this seemingly bloated collective, who have yet to convince many that they have the quality to back up the support of their more influential peers. Some may even make their mind up while waiting for any one of the album's ten tracks to unhurriedly open its melodic doors to the world.
Not everybody, however, is in such a rush for musical gratification, and it is to these listeners that Anathallo's majesty will reveal itself. ‘Canopy Glow’ is not an album to be picked at or digested on the move, but one that deserves patience, last chance after last chance and, ultimately, your love.