It’s hard not to get excited about Anz. The Manchester-based DJ and producer is that rare talent who can take anything—hardcore, dubstep, breakbeat, jungle—and meld it beautifully with her unique pop sensibilities. This is true of her newest record, All Hours, her first release via Ninja Tune. Anz pays homage to all kinds of UK club sounds in a way that feels very accessible but never dumbed down. It’s straightforward but never too streamlined for its own good.
Much like the colorful album art, the EP’s production has a flash and shimmer that’s unmistakably cheerful and upbeat. It’s evident from the first track, “Decisions (AM Intro)”, where the sparkly, piano-laden intro gives way to twinkling pads and funky bass. The song sets the mood for the rest of the record, with the music carried along by the breezy, half-awake energy of afterparties and late-night raves. It’s an intro that feels almost too good to be an intro—there’s nothing interlude-ish about it.
“Decisions” slides right into “You Could Be (featuring George Riley)”, the EP’s most straightforward moment. It’s catchy as hell, but what really makes it memorable is the way that all the elements seem to soar and swoop rather than move in a straight line—bouncy synth lines, distant swells of electric guitar, and George Riley’s light, breathy soprano. The song has “Call Me Maybe” vibes all over it. When Riley sings, “I know my head’s a little crazy / We just met, but I’m feeling you, baby”, it’s almost impossible not to think of the Carly Rae Jepsen hit song. Anz has gone pop but in the best possible way.
Cheerful as All Hours might be, there’s aggressive energy pulsing throughout the EP. “Last Before Lights” pairs airy piano and echoey vocals with manic breakbeats and a pounding sub-bass groove. “Inna Circle” is an intense electro workout of stomping kick drums and yelping vocal samples. And on “Real Enough to Feel Good”, the chipmunked singing and bouncy two-step beat are offset with one of the EP’s deepest basslines. Anz may have taken a more accessible approach on All Hours, but she sacrifices none of her sonic range. The album bears touches of jungle, garage, UK funk, and all the club sounds Anz is known for dabbling in.
The concept behind All Hours seems to be that of a 24-hour dance marathon. Per Anz’ words: “It’s 24 hours to choose your own adventure: from morning to night, into first light. Music for all hours, and music that’s all ours too.” All Hours is music for the all-nighters and the dedicated ravers who want to dance and dance into the wee AM hours. With releases like Loos in Twos and OTMI001, Anz staked her claim among the finest in UK club music. Her sound goes further into pop territory on her first album without losing any of its signature charms. All Hours is one of the most exciting debuts of the year from one of the most exciting new voices in club music.