Seattle native and multi-discipline artist Anomie Belle’s album release Flux will likely garner her considerable attention as one of the most innovative artists on the indie music scene. Belle, likewise, demonstrates enough accessibility to suggest her stay in the indie world may be brief – despite any odd textures or arrangements she explores over the course of Flux’s ten songs, her focus invariably returns to the hallmarks of melody setting her far apart from many of her peers. Her lyrical content, likewise, pushes far beyond the boundaries established in typical pop songs and the thoughtful explorations of theme she presents are conveyed with a deeply musical and emotive voice with a talent for dramatization. Despite its trip hop and electronica trappings, Anomie Belle’s Flux will appeal to a broad based audience capable of appreciating diversity and honest, genuine craft. There’s technique a plenty on Flux, but it’s all underlined with the beating heart responsible for the experiences contained within.
The opener “Saturday Gives” has resplendent, almost ornate beauty that betrays Belle’s training as a classical musician. Bringing these elements together with modern production and instrumentation is a striking move and her vocal works in great consort to impressively begin the album. “Right Way” has a seductive tempo scooping up listeners from the outset and imaginative electronica overdubs that give the song a bit of added pizzazz. Belle’s voice bobs and weaves through the mix with a great attention to detail. “As We Are” picks up with a similar tempo, but this is a much more funky, soulful outing than the preceding songs thanks to shimmering funk guitar fills dropped into the mix. There’s a strong quality of melancholy pervading the song “Unwind” than what we’ve heard so far and the quasi-phasing of Belle’s vocal only heightens the feeling that something here, a life, someone’s emotions, have been turned askew. There’s little question, despite any artier intent, Belle means these songs to be entertaining and they never fail in that regard.
The restless electronica and slinking tempo of the album’s first single, “Lovers”, sets up another heavily treated Belle vocal that, nonetheless, never fails to convey its message. There’s a lot of sex rising up from these grooves, but like elsewhere on the album, one of Belle’s defining traits is her consistent ability to avoid technology dominating her songs. Instead, the synthesizer and other electronic effects inform the songwriting process rather consuming it. Belle moves away from the dance tempos of the last few tracks on “As Summer Bleeds Daylight” and weaves one of the album’s most atmospheric spells. It isn’t all sonic theater, however – every element serves a clear purpose in the mix and coalesce to form a whole greater than the sum of its parts. “The Good Life” has a rare delicacy for music in any genre, but all of the trip hop and IDM impulses guiding earlier songs falls away here for one of the purest balladic moments on the release. Flux is a work of rare beauty, discernment, and depth. The deep well of musicality Belle draws from apparently has no bottom and she is able to synthesize its disparate elements into something truly unique and individual.
9 out of 10 stars