Monday, April 15, 2024

ANAMORPH release full-length album Lucid

This is a wholly instrumental album played by four guys from North Carolina who, with just the standard four-piece line-up of two guitars, bass and drums, attempt to join together several disparate strands of music. They’re neither a prog band nor a metal or MOR band but they fuse elements of each into what they play. This means therefore it’s a very ambitious aspiration. Almost as ambitious as their raison d’etre “…we’re a band about the world, drawing attention to triumphs, shortcomings, beauty and destruction, the struggles for growth and the uncertainty encompassing us as we drive forward into the future”. And they’re attempting to convey all this without saying a word.

I can appreciate and applaud their talent and skill but, I’ll be honest… I initially found this album heavy going. Several listens later, I still felt the same. This isn’t to say it’s rubbish or badly played, as this would be incorrect. A big shout-out to Anamorph, these guys can really play. There’s some epic musicianship on the album, occasionally quite complex, alongside some fast paced technicality and lots of virtuoso noodling and driving melodies. They’re tight musically with bass and drums laying down a solid foundation for the two guitarists to go off on tangents.

Opening track ‘Reverie’ sets the pattern for the rest of the album. Some manic drumming and guitars playing the same few notes over and over. ‘Myopia’ is in a similar vein and ultimately it sounds like a series of disparate pieces joined together. They attempt a little subtlety and variation on tracks like ‘Twilight’s Sombre Gaze’ and ‘Sublimate’ and they hint at jazz-rock on the track ‘Endogenous Change’, but overall nothing on this album has the immediacy or the impact of an instrumental like Rush’s ‘La Villa Strangiato’ where, despite the length and complexity of the song, there’s the sense the band are playing a tune, which is a feeling I didn’t have on certain songs on this album.

Anamorph claim they turn their gigs into a ‘multi-media, multi-sensory experience,’ so it follows, without the aid of visuals, any recorded album must be able to be heard as a stand-alone entity, which is a skill artists using amazing visuals like Pink Floyd and Alice Cooper possess but, with Lucid, I’m not sure Anamorph does. As said, there’s no doubt these guys can play, I just wonder what it is they’re playing.

Laurence Todd
Laurence Todd
Took early retirement after many years as a teacher in order to write books as well as about music. A long-time music obsessive, has wide and eclectic tastes but particularly likes prog rock and rock in general. Enjoys going to gigs and discovering new acts.

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