On their eleventh album, Anathema went one step further. “The Optimist”, though retaining a dose of progressivity, has also brought a lots of electronic influences, and can be characterized as a moody, dark electro-pop.
When you have a long career and a rich discography, changes are inevitable. Those changes in the sound that stand up against previous releases in such a way that fans can greet them with open arms. Only a few bands are able to make these changes so well and be consistent with them like ANATHEMA. Many newer fans probably are not even aware of the existence of their first albums and slow, heavy doom sound with which they began their journey as a band. Over time, the band left that sound, evolved, turned to an alternative and more progressive approach, and continued to experiment in that direction. What is most important in all these changes is that Anathema managed to keep that dark, melancholy and deep emotions they are known for.
On their eleventh album, Anathema went one step further. “The Optimist”, though retaining a dose of progressiveness, has also brought lots of electronic influences and can be characterized as a moody, dark electro-pop. Even though this direction can be surprising for fans, what will not surprise them is that even in this direction Anathema sounds incredibly good.
When you have such an incredible discography you can draw inspiration from it. Do you remember 2001 and the album “A Fine Day To Exit“? Do you remember the cover of this album? The story behind it? Well, that’s where the band found inspiration and decided to continue that story. The title of the first song, “32.63N 117.14W”, are actually the coordinates of the beach from the album cover of “A Fine Day To Exit”. The main character of that album will try to answer questions about his life and destiny on the new one.
The album continues with a real rock song, “Leaving It Behind,” the classic Anathema sound of recent years. The first impact of electronics is already recognized in the next “Endless Ways”, which is also dominated by the beautiful voice of Lee Douglas, my personal favorite if I had to choose. The search for answers continues from “San Francisco” to “Springfield” which are dominated by keyboards. From somewhat faster “Can’t Let Go”, through jazz sound combined with electronic influences on “Close Your Eyes” to “Back To Start” that closes the circle and brings peace, this album has a lot to offer.
On “The Optimist” Anathema managed to create a brand new but familiar sound that still requires multiple spins in order to be appreciated. And with each new one, you’ll be grateful that you played it once more. An intense experience with an optimistic end, not only for the main character of the story but also the band that continues to change and grow in every sense. And they never disappoint.
Written by Jadranka Balaš
02. Leaving It Behind
03. Endless Ways
04. The Optimist
05. San Francisco
08. Can’t Let Go
09. Close Your Eyes
11. Back to the Start
On their eleventh album, Anathema went one step further. “The Optimist”, though retaining a dose of progressivity, has also brought a lot of electronic influences and can be characterized as a moody, dark electro-pop.