When they close the book, in the far flung future, on Anomie Belle’s career, her latest full length release Flux will likely still rank high among her recorded efforts. The twelve songs are an impressive array of varying sounds and approaches with common denominators uniting the running order in sound and theme. She flawlessly maneuvers from style to style with a light-footed grace that belies the often dense sound collages she summons and manages to maintain outstanding vocal control despite the risk for the backing tracks to clutter her messages. Her vocals are some pyrotechnic display of lung firepower but, instead, intensely dramatic while remaining understated throughout. Piano, synthesizer, and drum machines dominate the recording, but other instruments peek their way into the mix and the production deftly deals with these introductions.
It’s the style juggling, however, that’s most impressive. “Saturday Gives” is the sonic equivalent of a man juggling a variety of objects, varying in size and weight, fluidly and without breaking a sweat. The change from the quasi-classical string opening into a seductive tempo augmented by electronica doesn’t cause the track to miss a beat and her accompanying vocal performance likewise demonstrates the same certain ear for performance. “As We Are” is, arguably, the album’s best example of out and out trip hop, but there’s enough physicality here to power this track for any night club evening and it engages its audience from the first notes onward.
The album moves into new territory beginning with the song “Unwind”. It’s a thoughtful electronica track with in-depth lyrics and another stunning vocal from Belle. The music and vocal alike manage to invoke the deconstruction of a personality in mid crumble, but it always retains a strong musicality that never fades. “As Summer Bleeds Daylight” has a darker air, lyrically and musically, than any preceding song and her moody singing underscores that feeling. “Beneath” conjures up a very different slant. This is a truly idiosyncratic, but nevertheless quite believable, riff on the soul/funk genre that crackles from the beginning and never stops sparking. The sharp guitar fills dropping into the mix give the track added bite. “Salt Spring” and “The Good Life” are twin pillars of sensitivity, musically and lyrically, on an album renowned for this virtues by this point. Of the two, the second is perhaps most affecting thanks to the spartan quality surrounding the performance. The meditative beauty of “Merla” is a great accompaniment to another of Belle’s fine lyrics and the balance maintained between the music and textual performance really hits the mark.
Diving Bell Recording Company has really scored high with the acquisition of this major new creative force. Few artists are as audacious enough to release an album such as this and an accompanying art book, but Belle operates by her own rules and Flux will be the first example of many in her sure to be long career.
9 out of 10 stars.