Like its inscrutable cover image, ANAMAI’s Sallows requires much of its listeners. Those willing to fully engage will not be disappointed.
A hauntingly bleak, ephemeral collection of sound pieces, Sallows possesses a meditative quality within which it becomes easy to get lost. Playing like a half-remembered dream, these songs flits in and out of focus: repetitive phrases cropping up here and there; liquid reverb pooling in the corners; ethereal melodic wisps creating a faint, impenetrable fog. So delicate and brittle is this music, it threatens to crumble under closer inspection.
But a closer inspection is exactly what is required to fully appreciate the subtlety and nuance of Sallows. In the seemingly random creaks and groans of disintegrating distortion and atmospherics you can hear the rumblings of songs beginning to come apart from the inside out. Tenuously holding everything together is the affected, Joanna Newsom-lite vocals of ANAMAI (Anna David Allie). Often multi-tracked, harmonizing and doubling back over, they prove an instrument unto themselves, complimenting the sparse instrumentation wending its way through the album. Far from immediate, Sallows demands further listens; a full surrender to the sublime. Headphones required.