Published Mar 06, 2015Anna Mayberry's work in her minimalist folk project Anamai differs a great deal from what she does in noisy powerhouses HSY, a band that operates with the main concerns of filling spaces and flattening audiences. Her work as Anamai can be just as arresting, even though the music achieves that goal with an emotional heaviness and not a physical one.
Mayberry first introduced the project in late 2013 with a short demo cassette that showcased her strong sense of melody and unique, otherworldly vocal style. Those demos were produced by David Psutka (EGYPTRIXX, Hiawatha), whose skills with electronics helped give them a very modern feel. His presence can be felt a lot more prominently on Sallows, Anamai's first proper full-length; the production sounds more polished, atmospheric and spacious, with much more happening subtly between the notes and left hanging in the air.
Even the way in which the songs are sequenced is well thought out, situating the three songs that originally appeared on the demo in the middle of the record ("Mute Flames," "Altar Coals" and "Black Crow"), essentially using the familiarity of those tracks to anchor and give the album a defined centre.
Also defining the record is the last song, "Otolith," a slow, shimmering dream that features Mayberry's distant vocals over ringing synth and guitar. The song gets its name from the organ in the inner ear that's sensitive to both movement and balance, and therefore acts as a strong metaphor for how the record smartly connects sound with weight and movement without ever having to coerce the listener with heavy guitars or mountains of feedback. (Buzz)