Anna Meredith - Varmints - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Anna Meredith - Varmints

by Jim Harris Rating:10 Release Date:2016-03-04

Okay, so the first song, ‘Nautilus’, is horns blasting high and loud and repetitive and then two, three minutes elapse and still horns blasting and I start looking around the car thinking a big avant-garde WTF… but no! In squeezes these trembling loud reverberating synths and soon Anna Meredith has me by the musical balls. You don’t have to tell me Anna is classically trained. 

Varmints is a tasty loud blast of heavy electronica that you know wasn’t composed sitting in an apartment with a hundred dollar Casio. The layers of synths and horns and bombastic drums and just the sheer volume of the tracks shove Varmints into the epic category. It rocks.

Hailing from Edinburg and now in London, Anna Meredith has already made it as a highly successful writer of classical music, and then, in her late 30s, she has decided to try out electronic pop music, and while that might sound like Mozart suddenly turning to Status Quo boogie-rock, her song structures are massive and elaborate in their simplicity, but also amazingly loud and hook laden.

From the opening track, which sounds like an intro to a 60s murder thriller set in the suburbs, on through such industrial wiz-bang electronica as ‘R-Type’, and easing through more industrial rockers like ‘Shill’ and ‘Blackfriars’, you feel an exhilarating rush of artistic freshness, not only in the uniquely complex song structures built around electro noise, horns, and drums, but just the sheer energy these loud songs generate. (Is there club shows in her future?)

There are also nice touches of vocals and almost a pop sensibility with songs like ‘Dowager’ and ‘Last Rose’ but Anna doesn’t let herself settle into simple pop structures, she twists them nicely into noise-laden, musically dense gems.

Varmints is one fine and massively creative slab of fresh electronic music that doesn’t sound old or derivative one bit.  If her classical compositions are as riveting as her new pop endeavors, there’s a lot of disappointed brainier (than me anyway) music listeners out there.  Unless they want to cross over.  It would be well worth it.

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