CHOICE CUT- Anomie Belle ‘The Crush’


Anomie Belle / The Crush 


Anomie Belle / Released December 2011

OK, so Seattle’s Anomie Belle arrived a little late onto the trip hop scene. Not least as most of us, including Portishead if Third was much to go off, thought the genre was all but dead years ago. Amazingly though here we’re given something that’s as outdated as an iPad 2, with the noises she makes baring little resemblance to the sound that began life filled with unease, desperation, melancholy, beauty, and passion, before adopting a place on the CD racks of mainstream Britain.

It’s probably important to note that Belle’s not going to strike a blow against middle England with this LP. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine anyone not appreciating the contents, at least musically. Furthermore, those hoping for a return to the kind of lovely death realised through song on the early work of Beth Gibbons, Geoff Barrow and Co, will find themselves coming up short here.

That said, the same stoned, hypnotic effect ensues, and so it’s hard not to call it trip hop, though more along the lines of Morcheeba, than morbidity, albeit brought bang up to date. As Machine proves with ease, a track recently released as part of an EP package that boasts additional microphone work from Thievery Corporation and Aesop Rock collaborator Mr Lif- probably the most sun-kissed moment on here, full of lazy brass and rolling percussion.

In contrast Mosquito Coast brings on more sombre sounds, as violins deliver seemingly mournful harmonies, opening up into wider string arrangements, all the while the leading lady continues to captivate with a vocal style that sits somewhere between the Coco Rosie sisters, Bjork, and star of Agoria’s third album, Kid A. All of which will be welcomed by any fan of light, evocative and engaging lyricism that has a few otherworldly traits to its delivery and tone.

Further down the line, Bodies Offering takes things towards electronic funk, as basslines squelch and filtered melodies pan in and out atop a timelessly laid back broken beat. It’s also worth noting that this is one of the instances in which we experience something of the artist’s full vocal capacity, with her voice seeming to stretch further across the arrangement.

Meanwhile, more human, Earthier styles are present in the ‘synth blues’, smoky bar-room number, Privilege (featuring a guest appearance from fellow Seattle resident Anna Lynne Williams), and the similarly downbeat On TV, which perhaps stands out as the finest point to reference on the album. Whether you think that’s true or not is irrelevant though, as there’s quality in spades here, ensuring there are countless legitimate reasons to purchase.

Anomie Belle / Amazon