It’s amazing to consider that a mere decade ago, bands dominated the local indie music landscape. Now, singer-songwriters release music with a frequency that suggests some kind of epoch is upon us. This is a natural development of a maturing music scene. After all, singer-songwriters can express themselves to an audience without a band and thus, in practical terms it’s easier for singer-songwriters to find performance opportunities.
Which brings us – in a long winded way – to Anise and her debut EP, Inwards. Backed by producer Victor Low on guitar/bass/percussion and Zhong Ren Koh (Plate), Anise utilises fragile vocals, acoustic guitar and the occasional violin to imprint her stripped down folk approach.
The EP title – Inwards – is instructional enough, with deep reflective lyrics the order of the day. The insistent “Bones” with its medieval-era melodic thrust imagines a violent love affair – ‘Cross our steeples/Break our bones/This love is ours to behold’.
There are observational pieces that represent current affairs with “Pulp Fiction” referencing the NLB controversy – ‘You clipped our wings long before we learnt to fly/Your words they stung, penguins have to live a lie’ – goes one impassioned couplet.
Sometimes, the narrative is not so didactic and this principle has driven Anise to compose the cinematic “Midnight Sweepers” – “In the morning/All is bright/All is fine/All is kind/The morning dew they scattered in the night/Smells like a billion butterflies/They flutter and fly/Into the morning light/They rest on your forehead and you smile/You let out a sigh”. Is Anise singing about actual road cleaners or perhaps is this a personification of dreams, perhaps? It is in this intriguing question that Anise finds her poetic form.
A quiet chamber music that begs concentrated listening habits in order to discern its delights or overly self-indulgent attempts at poetry in song? That depends on your perspective but in the final analysis, definitely weight on the balance falls in favour of the former. Be warned that Anise’s music is a bit of an acquired taste but it’s worth the time and effort.
Anise launches the Inward EP on 6th December, Play Den @ The Arts House. Tickets available from AniseInwardsEP.peatix.com