Music

Anjali: The World of Lady A

Jason MacNeil

Anjali

The World of Lady A

Label: Wiiija
US Release Date: 2003-10-07
UK Release Date: 2003-09-01
Amazon
iTunes

Anjali, better known as the lead singer for riot grrl group the Voodoo Queens in the early '90s, is back with another assortment of sounds, samples, and lounge lizard overtones. If you could bottle Jarvis Cocker and keep in him the same time as his early '80s work with Pulp, or This Is Hardcore mixed with Ravi Shankar, you might have an idea of where this album comes from. Anjali's vocals are light like Minogue (Kylie or Dannii, take your pick), but there is more texture and context to each track. "Misty Canyon" is a great example of this, as Anjali sings over strings, Spaghetti Western touches, and other sampled pieces of music. It seems perfect "chill out" music with horns. It settles into a nice groove near the homestretch too, despite the slightly annoying repetition as it fades.

"Asian Provocateur" again has some of that '70s mystique to it, with the Spaghetti Western guitars mixed over a series of effects and horns. It is highbrow Motown, resembling Portishead on ecstasy in certain spots. The lush arrangements are not lost on the listener, as Anjali gives a smooth and sultry performance. "The World Of Lady A is a lot more confident and focused," Anjali says in the bio. "Vocally it is better as my voice has progressed." And she isn't kidding here, as "Rainy Day" has a light, British '60s pop vocal to it. The Urge Overkill arrangement only embellishes the tune beautifully. It's an orchestrated pop song that bands like Death By Chocolate could relate to. If there is one drawback, it tends to wane somewhat near the end.

"Turn It On!" turns the album on, a groove-heavy bass line that contains horns and more special spacey effects. It's as if Dee Lite has returned for the new millenium. Anjali lets the instrumental move along without adding anything. It also possesses a James Bond-like tribal theme to it as Anjali laughs briefly. Another bonus is the surf-guitar overtone on "Seven X Eight", a gorgeous ditty that could be mistaken for a Pulp Fiction tune. "So don't come to me with your broken heart / I won't mend it, I'll just wring it out", Anjali sings as the guitar glides along. She does go a tad over-the-top with the last verse, reaching notes that sound forced at best. "A Humble Girl" disappoints the listener, though, as the bland, Phil Collins-esque adult contemporary format is never taken seriously. Best leave it for Sarah Brightman!

The various mix of influences and styles means Anjali takes bits and pieces of different global styles. "Sati" is part Middle Eastern, part Spaghetti Western as she sings the song in a language other than English. It has a dreamy melody that is its saving grace as it seems to go on and on by the three minute mark. It's Stereolab without a power supply, basically. "Hymn to the Sun" recaptures the simple beauty on the earlier tunes, bringing Sarah McLachlan or even Marianne Faithful to mind, as "I just hum my sunset lullaby". As well, the track has the most trip-hop elements of any song here. "Ain't No Friend" has dance hall remix written all over it, with the Depeche Mode-meets-New Order riff the catalyst for what danceable musical trek ensues a la Garbage.

The bass line to "Kandivali Gulley" is infectious and resembles Primal Scream circa Vanishing Point. Here the groove is early and often as Anjali adds ethereal solos over the primal-yet-eclectic arrangement. Austin Powers, eat your heart out! This is pure '60s sound mutated to fit today's listener, including the sitar touches halfway through. "Rani of Jhansi" is probably the lamest track on the record, a harsh and sharp mix that is far too busy for anyone's liking. It's as if this was lifted from No Quarter, the "comeback" album by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. "Stinging Sitars X 9" contains a Fatboy Slim approach, with the guitars and sitars dueling over the song. This isn't an album for everyone, but for people looking to branch out a bit, this will definitely do the trick.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.

Books

90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.

Music

Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

‘The Avengers’ Offer a Lesson for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.

Music

Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.

Music

Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.

Books

First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?

Reviews

HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.

Music

Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.

Music

How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.

Music

Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.