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A dream so fantastic you'll never want to wake up!
Posted by: ResidentOne from: A Long Way OUt on
The Anix's Brandon Smith described their new album "Sleepwalker" as having "traditional themes, but the stories are told while under the black cloud of insomnia, and often written with no memory of doing so the next day." That insomniac "headspace" is definitely evident to the listener while exploring the various twists in the dreamscape of the band's ambitious new release. You could almost say "Sleepwalker" is a concept album, but not in the usual sense where the songs are tied together by a lyric plotline or musical motifs. The songs are connected more by emotions and moods, and very different emotions and moods, but all with the undercurrent of that edgy, twitchy, blurry, mildly psychotic feeling that accompanies sleeplessness, isolation, confusion, introspection, and just the power of the night itself. "Sleepwalker" captures those fantasies we've all had of wanting to save the whole world or burn it to the ground (or at least certain people in it) or just revel in the experience while it all spins out of control.
But with some of the epic, extreme places the album goes in music and lyrics, it really is that focus on the individual that keeps the whole idea from getting too heavy-handed or pretentious. "Take My Future" and "Endlessly" are massive, reeling, dramatic songs driven by vast, lush keyboards, but anyone who's ever been in love can personally relate to the fiery devotion and passion in the lyrics. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the atmospheric, sensual, visceral tracks "Sleepwalker", "In The Dark", and "The Passenger", which conjure images of wandering through the city at night in a semi-conscious state, hypnotized by lights, sounds, and the craving for a bit of self-destruction.
Anger, frustration, lust - they all show up on "Sleepwalker", but The Anix mix it up musically and package those emotions in different styles to keep the album fresh and dynamic. "Glass", "Warning Signs" and "In The End" combine genres and interesting bits and pieces (with reflections of influences from Classic New Wave like Depeche Mode to the Modern Arena Rock of Muse) right within the songs themselves, and the blend is so seamless that you never really think about all the constituent parts, just the highly enjoyable and thoroughly original final results. "Enemy Eyes" is a dirty, aggressive slightly "Metal" track and "Resident One" and "Long Way Out" are easily some of the most addictive Electro-Pop tracks you've heard in a long, long time! (They'll stick in your head for days, and you'll love it that they're there!) For as upbeat as any track gets on the album, though, that shadow of darkness and bleary-eyed, lip-biting agitation is always, always there. Even the two covers the band chose, "Cry Little Sister" and "Burn" are from movies ("The Lost Boys" and "The Crow") with dark, outsider themes and appeal.
As a special bonus for the fans, The Anix also included a remix CD with this release. (This is the disc that also contains the "Burn" cover.) Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of remixes, but there are some inventive re-interpretations here. Powerman 5000 deliver a crunchier, Industrial take on "Enemy Eyes", Invader! actually have a Dubstep hit on their hands with their version of "Sleepwalker" and well-known remixer Tommie Sunshine gives an interesting dance-floor twist to "Glass". With a full length album, two covers, and several remixes, The Anix definitely give you value in song quantity along with excellence in song quality!!
I think that was a part of the attitude that guided The Anix through the creation of this release - a desire to give the audience something more than the usual. With "Sleepwalker", The Anix has crafted a well-produced, musically and conceptually cohesive collection of magnificent songs, but they've also given the listener that extra gift of a story. And it's a story that makes more stories, the ones you write in your own head. It's impossible to listen to "Sleepwalker" without your own dreams, visions, and memories coming to mind. So when you're exhausted tonight and want to hit the bed, maybe you should hit the streets instead. Get the Anix in your ears and do a little "Sleepwalking" of your own...
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