[Revue de l'album] The Anix - Shadow_Movement

With easily justified comparisons to the likes of early Thirty Seconds to Mars (Trente secondes pour Mars), flavors of Depeche Mode, and a wonderfully prominent influence of La cure thrown into the mix, L'Anix’s own brand of ethereal electronic rock has always seemed a project ultimately finding itself in slightly older roots stylistically.

Sure, frontman and sole member Brandon Smith does of course still fully take advantage of the crisp, clear production values that modern technology allows, and the likes of Somnambule’s ‘Resident One’ perhaps being a little more Les tueurs than the album’s cover of Gerard McMahon/McMann’s ‘Cry Little Sister’ would have you believe, but in the end L'Anix always seemed to feel best at home in the dripping atmosphere of 80s-90s electronic rock. An Illusion of Time might have had a lot more of the aggressive Nine Inch Nails influence to say about itself, but if a singular song were to be chosen that summarizes the best de L'Anix’s work, it could easily be La cure’s ‘Burn’ (this itself being a delightfully appropriate result, considering that the track was also covered on the secondary Somnambule disk).

With this all in mind, being welcomed into the ranks of electronic rock-focused label FiXT certainly struck as a completely natural move forward to greener pastures: in being surrounded by similarly minded label-mates stylistically, Smith’s project feels entirely within its comfort zone for a brand new chapter, quickly bringing forward his latest effort, Shadow_Movement.

While incorporating an overarching dystopian and cyberpunk theme, and anthemic singles ‘Fight The Future’ and ‘This Machine’ already clearly displaying a chosen stylistic direction somewhere between the more rock-orientated Somnambule and far more electronically-infused 2017 effort Ephémère, Mouvement de l'ombre immediately kicks things off on a high, with L'Anix feeling plenty prepared to deliver another batch of energized, euphoric electronic rock tracks. Production-wise, it could be argued that this is the best Smith’s project has ever sounded, be it either due to further growth in personal experience, or experienced label support having had a particularly positive influence throughout the record’s conception: it all sounds crisper, cleaner, and ready to go.

Continuing onwards, ‘Open Fire’ immediately stands out as an album highlight, a catchy, piercing guitar melody and Smith’s crooning vocal performance charging forward triumphantly, while elsewhere the beautifully introduced ‘Overdrive’ immediately seizes attention: through a trickling, delayed melody and gorgeous atmosphere that washes over the track completely, ‘Overdrive’ borders on being something of a romantic ballad, yet with sombre undertones rooting things in darker territory: “Every time I breathe I feel you light my flame”/”nothing else can be as violent as this game.” Indeed, much of the album’s lyricism can be similarly compared, keeping in line with Smith’s established dystopian concept of Mouvement de l'ombre, and presenting a generally consistent theme of both desperate hope, yet foreboding wariness throughout a desolate cyberpunk setting:
“Lonely stranger, who are you?”
“Interchanger – passing through.”

As such, most of Mouvement de l'ombre is geared towards the mood of its chosen concept: ‘Come Back Down’ (while sharing notable similarities to Thirty Seconds to Mars (Trente secondes pour Mars)’ ‘Echelon’ in structure and sound) delivers a competently written offering of hesitancy in the face of possible hope (“I won’t come down, unless you’re bulletproof”), and the synth-heavy ‘Clouds’ could easily insert itself into any cyberpunk soundtrack and feel right at home in doing so (while also leading neatly into the pulsing electronics of ‘Wasteland’). “I’ve been waiting for you in the night – that’s the only place I know.”

Ultimately, Mouvement de l'ombre sounds good. In fact, at times it sounds très good: the instrumental backbone of the album is excellent, the songwriting confidently stands up in the face of Smith’s ambitious chosen dystopian concept, and vocally Smith’s range suits the direction of the music. Truthfully, Mouvement de l'ombre only suffers on one note: digesting the album’s 15 track odyssey in its entirety.

You see, in rooting itself so firmly in such an overarching concept, musically this is where a few tracks can start to blur together, losing their identity somewhat in the runtime and being overshadowed by others that better utilize le matériel at hand. As such, the only truthful criticism would perhaps be a simple matter of quantity over quality: in losing 2-3 tracks, and extending 1-2 to incorporate longer instrumental sections, Mouvement de l'ombre would feel a far more interconnected and engaging experience, despite the clear ambition seen within the already existing body of work.

Nevertheless, it can’t be denied that L'Anix has delivered another batch of euphoric, electronic rock tracks that perfectly suit Smith’s stylistic range. It may not be perfect, but as a reintroduction to the project following a restructure of members and moving into a brand new label, Mouvement de l'ombre is a commendable effort.

A propos de l'auteur

M. Stoneman

"Si vous combinez les films d'horreur, la musique rock et Silent Hill, je suis le résultat : un écrivain britannique qui va probablement s'extasier devant les solos de guitare et les bandes-son de jeux d'horreur.
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