Anekdoten - Gravity

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Virta
Catalog Number: Virta 004
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:22:00

Getting your hands on a brand new Anekdoten studio album is like a Christmas feeling that never stops. In the case of Gravity we were rather lucky to be able to get it during the band's short tour, as the finished product only reached the band a day before they left! Talk of suspense! What strikes me is that no fewer than three of the four musicians play the mellotron, but sadly I also notice that Anna Sofi Dahlberg no longer plays the cello. I thought that the cello was an integral part of the Anekdoten sound, but this proves just how wrong one can be. Anekdoten's music has always been physically demanding, what with the extremely low sound of the bass and the many rhythmic changes. The band opens with "Monolith," which is the kind of song one would associate with the band's previous album From Within. However on most of the album they will clearly leave their path in order to explore new territories. And that new direction is mainly in the hands of our beloved Anna Sofi Dahlberg, who this time around takes on the role as "fulltime" keyboard player. She's not the kind of virtuoso who will tickle the ivories faster than the speed of light, yet she adds interesting touches and plays a mean bit of mellotron. Nicklas Berg, who in the liner notes is called "Nicklas Barker," delivers a very unique guitar sound, experimenting with flanger and reverb that in turn complement the rest of the arrangement very well. And arrangement is the major difference between this album and their previous releases. This time around the band has taken the time to analyze their compositions and add little bits and pieces to make the end result more intresting. This kind of implies that Anekdoten no longer finds it necessary to compose loud and repetitive compositions all the time. On the contrary, as Jan Erik can approach his bass guitar from a different angle, with the music becoming kind of ambient in places.

With "The War Is Over," it's as if you are rocketed back towards the sixties and its psychedelic heydays. Both Nicklas and Jan Erik don't have strong voices, but it's that slight hesitation in their voices that brings a certain extra dimension to the music. Here Peter Nordin simply adds some percussion, whilst Nicklas performs on acoustic guitar backed by prominent mellotron, delivering a slight Arabian feel. "What Should But Did Not Die" is a very addictive kind of song with the perfect blend of guitar and keyboards. With a track written and conceived in London, "SW4" maybe can be seen as the future direction for the band, as this time around also Anna Sofi sings. The result is no longer prog as we know it, but rather the direction of bands such as Paatos or the Belgian band Hooverphonic. Needless to say, the band has its fair share of the production duties and over the years they've managed to learn their way around the studio fairly easy. Throughout the band's career I have often spotted similarities to the new wave band The Sound, and here a song like "Gravity" could well be an outtake of The Sound's very own From The Lion's Mouth album. Especially when the mellotrons are introduced there's a slight resemblance with the song "Winning." And for sure this title track is a winner in every respect. And addictive! Very addictive!

The sound of the loud mellotron has just died down and the band introduces another acoustic composition. "The Games We Play" almost sounds like those sentimental Bilitis soundtracks once again drifting on Nicklas' uncertain singing. It's a short piece but ever so beautiful and fragile, ending in a haze of sound. The album closes with "Seljak" which is the Servian word for farmer. Here guitar and Farfisa play the same chords together, resulting in a powerful sound backed by Peter Nordin, who is equally effective as a Swiss watch. Vibraphone adds an unexpected flavour in order to yet again deliver a very interesting track that is not that typical Anekdoten. So it looks like Gravity introduces a newborn Anekdoten, a band who tries to progress in every possible way without adding unnecessary guests or instruments. In a way you could say they deliver "more with less." It's still Anekdoten, mind you, but a new Anekdoten with an ear for detail, a sense for fantastic arrangements, and a superb album as result. A very interesting development and not once did I miss that cello!

Monolith (6:07) / Ricochet (5:44) / The War Is Over (4:42) / What Should But Did Not Die (6:43) / SW4 (6:04) / Gravity (8:19) / The Games We Play (3:24) / Seljak (5:16)

Anna Sofi Dahlberg - mellotron, voice, piano, Farfisa, organ
Nicklas Berg - voice, guitars, mellotron, Fender Rhodes, Farfisa organ
Jan Erik Liljeström - bass, voice
Peter Nordins - drums, cymbals, vibraphone, mellotron

Vemod (1991)
Nucleus (1995)
Official Bootleg: Live in Japan (1998)
From Within (1999)
Gravity (2003)
A Time Of Day (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: June 15th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 903
Language: english


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