Born in Surrey, but now based in Berlin, Anika – A.K.A. Annika Henderson – is a very busy individual. When not engaged in writing poetry and working as a political journalist, Anika is very adept at musical composition. Her latest album, Change is out now on Invada Records/Sacred Bones, and comprises a total of nine tracks.
Anika states: ‘This album had been planned for a little while and the circumstances of its inception were quite different to what had been expected. This colored the album quite significantly. The lyrics were all written there on the spot. It’s a vomit of emotions, anxieties, empowerment, and of thoughts like—How can this go on? How can we go on?’
According to the PR, ‘the central feeling of the record is one of heightened frustration, buoyed by guarded optimism’. The album begins with the recently-released single, ‘Finger Pies’ – one that Joyzine covered back in the summer and an excellent opener; fast-paced with a strong bassline and percussive energy. The energetic percussion continues with ‘Critical’, albeit at a slower pace, while the album title track (and single), ‘Change’ has a very positive, memorable energy to it, producing a very commercial vibe that I can imagine being picked up by television networks, as the melody lingers within the mind for some considerable time. ‘Change’ is quoted as a song that ‘tackles personal growth as well as wider issues and grapples with eternal questions as to whether one can ever truly change’.
‘Naysayer’ brings a different mood again, although once more (as throughout the entire album) it’s clear that much thought has been placed into the percussive elements of each song. Admirably, ‘Sand Witches’ produces a very different feel, again highlighting the dynamic shifts in tone and pace that spread throughout each track. No-one can ever accuse Anika of being ‘samey’, as each track certainly holds its own unique character and personality.
‘Never Coming Back’ relaxes the pace once more, while ‘Rights’ adds an edgier tone, backed by a steady keyboard melody. ‘Freedom’ once again builds on various keyboard, synth layers, edged by dreamy vocals, while ‘Wait For Something’ ends the album by taking the listener back to a stripped back, acoustic vibe.
For me, the album works very well because, as mentioned before, it offers a variety of musical and vocal experiences on one disc. Nothing stands still and at no stage do we think ‘oh, this sounds familiar to a previous track’. Anika’s vocals are strong and emotive, reminding me of the dynamic energy of Grace Jones on some tracks, especially the awesome opener, ‘Finger Pies’.
This album is a triumph of achievement and one which Anika should be extremely proud of.
Change is out now on Invada Records / Sacred Bones. Order now on vinyl, CD or digital download via Bandcamp.
Find out more on Anika’s official website
Review by Kev Milsom