Let’s disclose the potential for bias right here: the two dudes in Analecta are close friends of mine. Patrick is in my ska band, and we have worked closely putting on shows both at the venue he manages and my own living room. Calvin and I probably have the most musical overlap (both in listening and style of playing) of anyone I know. My band has played more shows with Analecta than we have anyone else (we’re one of two bands thanked in the liner notes). I recorded their first demo over seven years ago (it’s still on their Bandcamp page). I even suggested the final track listing of this album when the limitations of vinyl required the songs be rearranged.
All that being said, I can imagine how you, dear reader, might see a glowing review and think that I’m just shilling for my friends. But I have a lot of friends, dear reader, and some of them make bad music, and you don’t see me writing about them here. My friendship merely lets me see this work in context, appreciating it from a birds eye view.
Because this is not Analecta’s first album: their first, Janus Bifrons, was released five years ago as a three piece. Then, they were a pretty conventional three piece–guitar, bass, drums, maybe the occasional keyboard, and a lot of loopers (this has not changed). Shortly after, Kevin, the guitarist, left (I joked about joining), and Pat and Calvin restructured as a two piece. Lots more keyboards were added, Calvin, who was not a guitarist, now switching from guitar to bass between recording loops.
By design, their compositions grew more patient and carefully constructed. This album is the culmination of years of regrouping and self evaluation, yet it doesn’t suffer an identity crisis. Aes Sidhe bears no resemblance to a band struggling to find their voice, but rather to a group that’s been through a crisis, found themselves in it, and are screaming more loudly than ever.