Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Anjimile matches rustic experimentation with modern angst on The King

"The King"

Release date: 08 September 2023
Anjimile The King cover
11 September 2023, 09:00 Written by Noah Barker

The image of the past is often more important than its reality, and the present may as well be fiction.

I would wager medieval folk didn’t involve industrial rhythms, harsh drones, and plucky mixing anachronisms. One would really be getting on track if they noticed many of the modern socio-political sentiments peppered into the record, such as existential angst, identity, family, and violence, didn’t exist entwined with fairytale imagery and lore. On The King, Anjimile crafts a masterstroke folk album that binds differences through time for unparalleled emotional clarity.

Great records may be marked by a moment of recognition, where the listener can snap their fingers into a point and realize the promise of potential; for The King, it is the choir heralding in the opening title track, a palette of refined beauty that is upended by cycling, percussive string segments. Layered in with Anjimile’s emotionally gratifying presence, it is an angular, yet soulful combination of disparate parts. Much of the same extends to the watertight 33 minutes the record runs at, and it runs; for as tranquil and morose as the ballads of the later tracklist appear, they stutter into each other and let their colours bleed through. Each track is a watershed moment ceding itself the next.

The production of the record understands nuance in the midst of kaleidoscopic sound design ideas. The soft, lullaby keys of “Genesis” are tucked into the mix like the rest of the instrumentation is an autumn blanket, while the eventual solos in the second half saw into the nature scene. The rhythms of standout single “Animal” match the intensity of the subject matter with a stuttering groove leaving each of its components blurry in the bustling mix; it's a watercolor drum section. The core threat of, “If you treat me like an animal // I’ll be an animal,” takes on a resolute dignity over its marching instrumental. Anjimile pampers his ideas, pairing them together with inspired taste.

“Harley” exists in its own pocket of spacetime, as reverberating guitars and dissonant synths ring out and repeat. The soulful hook of, “I’m already halfway done,” flips the chord progression into major key and shines like an all-too-momentary smile. The ending suite of “I Pray” which seamlessly leads into “The Right” is perhaps Anjimile’s greatest pairing of ideas. The former begins as a straightforward ballad, opening itself up into a wordless drone, while the latter opens on the same drone and ends with a wall of balladry. It’s a clever trick. He throws up the ball and catches it with the other hand, ensuring that, through every shift and misdirection, the trance is never broken. It takes talent to make the time pass away.

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