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EP Review: ANiMA – Remember It’s A Memory

Contrary to what some people will try and have you believe music is a very simple thing. It’s all about reactions and emotions. For me personally if it elicits a reaction good or bad or makes you feel something, then it has worked. Some records will bring out extreme reactions and others will simply make you think, they interest and intrigue you exactly like Remember It’s A Memory has just done to me.

Its creators ANiMA are a walking, singing, hard rocking contradiction. They are a band of extremes. Conceived in Birmingham back in 2011 ANiMA are Dan Sheridan (Vocals/guitar/keyboards) Chris Sheridan (Guitar/not as many vocals as Dan) Mike Bar (Bass) and Adam Wakefield (Drums) and here are my thoughts on their new record.

The EP kicks off with ‘Bad Memory’ which is probably the track most like a single on the entire project. It doesn’t really have an intro to speak of as it dives straight into the unique soaring vocal of D. Sheridan. It’s not the most traditional of rock vocals and if I’m being 100% honest it took a few listens for it to grow on me, but it did and the more I listened to the band the more it made sense with their overall sound. The chorus is very solid and definitely has that something which means that it will be a hit at live shows. Lyrically it stands up well and all in all the track gets everything off to a good start.

‘The Sun And The Moon’ begins with an intro that sounds exactly like a section of the intro from Martyr De Mona’s ‘Siege Mentality.’ That little riff and drum section continues throughout the track and I think that the similarity with MDM is pure coincidence. Again the chorus is very strong, they do seem to have a knack of writing good rock hooks. Everything gets a little grimier and a little heavier for the last verse giving the track something a little bit extra.

There is something of a prog rock slant on the EP’s next offering ‘Fluctuating.’ Despair and depression are the order of the day with random bursts of euphoria and contentment. (Like I said a band of contradictions) The effect across the vocal for the verses gives the track a real edge but my favourite moment here is the fact that there are decent portions of the track where the bass and the drums are left to do the heavy lifting. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, more bands should do this! This is the longest song on the EP and that gives it an epic feel as various sections and progressions flash by, there is also some very nice guitar work towards the end which helps round the track off really well.

I found ‘Music Box’ to be a bit of a strange track and in some ways I am still slightly puzzled by it. The track takes its name from the intro which could have been lifted straight from a music box… see what they did there? My puzzled-ness comes from the fact that large portions of this track are some of the most commercial moments on the record and then from nowhere a scream comes flying in. I’m all for variation and trying to be different but I think here that switch in style just jars that little bit too much, and I feel that that takes away from  what was potentially a very strong track.

On the flip side however penultimate track ‘Embers’ in my book is a stroke of genius. No soaring vocals, thundering drums and no thick guitar riffs, just spoken word and delicate piano. The track was originally a poem which was going to feature on the EP’s artwork but it ended up being recorded and I love it.

Black Sabbath had this idea that they would throw in softer tracks to give greater weight to the real heavy signature stuff and this song could be seen as having just that effect. The exasperation in the delivery of the lyrics gives the piece some real feeling and it just works. On the face of it the concept of a spoken word track on a heavy rock record seems bizarre but somehow it fits effortlessly in among the crashing symbols and the like. It’s a big risk but a risk that pays off massively.

The final word in ‘Embers’ is ablaze and the next and final song on the EP goes by the same name. It’s too much of a coincidence not to be deliberate so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt for what comes across as a nice touch. The riffs are grungy and the lyrics characteristically downbeat but the final verse opens with the emotive gem;

My heart’s intertwined irreversibly, With the memory of another time, The memory of another love, The memory of another life.

Sadly I think the track is slightly let down again by the switch between what is at times the quite melodic main body of the song and the primeval screams at the end. Again it just doesn’t seem to quite fit.

Earlier on I said that both ANiMA and this record were a contradiction and I stand by that. There is at times a prog rock feel to tracks that last 3 minutes, melodies set against screams and near suicidal depression juxtaposed with moments of surreal happiness. Oh and how could I forget the spoken word track on what is essentially a hard rock record. Remember It’s A Memory makes in so many ways makes absolutely no sense, but neither do we as people. A quick flick back through your memory bank will reveal the same contradictions and extreme emotions as what are on display here.

When you look back through life you mainly split things into extremes, there is normally sadness and happiness, you don’t remember just feeling ok. This EP is the musical accompaniment to go with those memories, sure it’s not without its faults but neither are you.

Remember It’s A Memory is a record that makes you think, at times its abrasive, happy, sad, and confused, but most of all its real. Just like you.

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