ANOHNI – Paradise EP
After releasing one of the most overtly political albums of the year just nine months ago, it's no surprise that, with the precarious state of contemporary geopolitics, ANOHNI has decided to revisit the same winning formula on this new EP, with Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke returning for production duties.
The title track provides the real meat of the record, almost to the detriment of the whole EP, as it commands so much of the limelight. It's a veritable smörgåsbord of everything that made HOPELESSNESS such a smash last Spring; there are stabs of abrasive synth (à la Arca) amidst the chaotic electronic production, a euphoric chorus that basks in the cacophony and lyrics that veer from abstract fear: 'Paradise / World without end / Hopelessness / Sinks into the earth,' to coldly blunt: 'My father's hand around my throat.' It's a wonderful summation of the fear and confusion being felt by so many people. It is grandiose, theatrical, but poignant – moods that ANOHNI has been evoking for years.
Other tracks on the EP focus on wealth disparity (Jesus Will Kill You), identity (You Are My Enemy) and gender shame/confusion (Ricochet), while the openers and closers neatly bookend the record with swathes of ambient noise. She Doesn't Mourn Her Loss is a highlight, eschewing the harsh arrangements for once, in favour of delicate, organic strings. It allows ANOHNI's quivering vibrato to enunciate at its own level, instead of having to vie for supremacy against electronics, delivering heartbreaking couplets like 'she doesn't mourn her loss / she just loses' until the tune fades into the spoken word outro of the EP.
Paradise may be titled ironically, but it refuses to wallow in cynicism, ending with concern about the state of the world, but hoping that unity will guide us through difficult times.
Listen to: She Doesn't Mourn Her Loss, Paradise