Music

R&B's Ane Shows Huge Promise on Her EP, 'Lonely Lovers Fantasy'

R&B crooner Ane stretches out over simple synthpop beats on new EP Lonely Lovers Fantasy.

Lonely Lovers Fantasy
Ane

Self-released

20 May 2019

When the artist known as Ane (an acronym for "A New Era" she pronounces as a single word, like "Annie") makes music, she does so with such lush shades of soul that it immediately recalls the aesthetics predominant in early 2000s R&B: decadent, smooth, indulgent. Pre-recession nostalgia, a blast from Juicy Couture stores past. On new EP Lonely Lovers Fantasy, Ane's mellifluous voice and fervent lyrics meet downtempo synthpop textures that further enhance her retro hues.

The throwbacks come in layers on Lonely Lovers Fantasy. Some aspects are thoroughly modern - production clarity and references to hitting Ane's DMs - while the simple, satisfying vocal lines and Ane's melismatic delivery hearken back not only to the 2000s but to peak quiet storm. Overall, it makes for a dreamy release, but also a sensual one, the material and the ethereal in balance.

Over the course of three tracks, Ane presents her aesthetic with cohesion and refreshing concision, working with three different producers and never losing her cool, collected sense of self. The EP opens with "Show Me", a slow jam on which Ane's old-school crooning adds a yearning heat beneath layers of sweetness as she entreats a companion to stay the night. "You can put your walls down / You don't need to hurt anymore," she reassures them, her sincerity raw beneath her polished voice. Behind her, the keys and beats take their cues from the backing tracks of heart-on-sleeve R&B artists of the 1990s. It's not hard to imagine this same instrumental behind the harmonies of TLC or En Vogue, but Ane's solo status necessitates her getting vulnerable, and she excels at that.

The second track "It Is What It Is" moves a little more quickly, a post-breakup track with more creative synth and percussion sounds - and a bitter twang that adds a satisfying edge to the melancholy. This grit makes it a definite standout, as does Ane's resigned refrain that "it is what it is / I'll just accept it like this / Go 'bout and handle my business." The track ends with Ane's voice wordlessly floating into a sharp stop.

It may be the closing track "Need Ur Love" that best demonstrates Ane's potential as a singer. The simplest of the songs melodically and lyrically, it gives her space to spread her wings, to demonstrate how close she can get to belting without losing control. This is where Ane's vocal delivery goes from smooth and easy to exciting as she takes a dynamic road through what could be a throwaway track.

That attention to detail and commitment to going all in is what makes Lonely Lovers Fantasy worthwhile. On the surface level, this is a decent pop EP featuring a genuinely good voice. Simmering just beneath that, though, are unplumbed depths of talent. Ane could spend the rest of her career playing it safe - I wouldn't be mad at her for it. Her new EP, though, inspires hope for a more interesting career path, one that gives Ane the chance to continue to realize her own vocal power and expand her creative vision so that she can open up a new era.

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