Record #11: Anathallo – Canopy Glow (2008)

This record starts a pretty long streak of a whole slew of favorites, and I’m pretty psyched about it.

Anathallo, in particular, has been one of my favorites for a while. I discovered them in college when they played down the street from my school, and I bought both of the CDs they had for sale, and a shirt, so when I found this record (after hearing nothing from it) in the record store in Chicago, I had to buy it, and I was rewarded for my faith.

Early in their career, Anathallo was compared to a “marching band gone wild,” and with good reason. Their live show was an incredibly distracting experience; seven people on stage, four of them holding down the guitar-keyboard-bass-drum fort, the other three switching between trombone, trumpet, glockenspiel, organ, giant bass drum, hand claps, chains, balloon popping, scissor playing, and good ol’ fashioned (shouted) BGV.

While this LP features a more relaxed Anathallo without the bombast of their earlier releases, they play here with precision and (surprisingly) restraint. The marching band explosions are fewer and further between, but they’re used with much more powerful effect, punctuating the twin vocal lines, new this album thanks to the addition of a female singer.

While it might be tempting to miss the days when Anathallo was just a group of friends making fun music, this record shows a group that is still making fun music–and they’re deadly serious about it. The lyrics are cleverer and more rapid-fire than ever, and the rises and falls (in typical Anathallo fashion) are better executed and more well-conceived than ever before. This record proves that just because you’ve matured doesn’t mean you have to grow up.

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