Anemo Slowburn

UK artists Anemo blend power pop and alternative rock to excellent effect on their debut disc Slowburn. This female-fronted group are a veritable powerhouse of sleek mixing, spotless production, dynamic vocals and clever, catchy songwriting. Using a voice that would be well suited to mainstream pop, talented vocalist Hazelle Woodhurst pushes those boundaries to create aching ballads about loneliness and confusion and more expressive, demanding, upbeat indictments of modern society and relationships. There’s a definite auditory resemblance here, particularly on "Same Day Chore,” to the most recent rash of young American alt-pop female radio darlings, but Anemo do it with more talent. There’s a lyrical maturity too, which allows them to bring a certain darkness to their songwriting and add an interesting dynamic and effect to the arrangements themselves which are almost always much more upbeat sounding then the lyrical content they house. Upon the first couple listens, some of Woodhurst’s vocal gymnastics may prove grating, as may the tendency to layer multiple tracks of vocals in the mix (which tends to obscure and distract from the great lyrics); rest assured, however, because this disc will grow on you, and grow and grow and grow. Quickly turning this small but debatable flaw into something that feels much more like a musical idiosyncrasy, instead, to the point where it actually becomes somewhat endearing and catchy. If you like your alt-rock on the poppier side, this may just be your album pick of the year. (I Hate Records)