Album: Celestial Frequency Shifter
Label: No Sleep Records
Release date: 3 February 2015
Sounds like: Weezer in Space: The Movie
You could be forgiven for becoming lost within this – Anakin (a four piece from San Diego, who have an obvious love of all things lightsaber and Millennium Falcon) create a world with their sound that will envelop you, should you stumble your way into its enigmatic universe. The term space-rock couldn’t be more aptly stamped all over their album, Celestial Frequency Shifter, which will engulf you in some of the warmest and richest sounding guitars you’ll hear this side of pop-punk. Anakin’s world is swarming with feelings to experience and absorb – from luscious keyboard licks, to rumbling rhythm sections, breathless vocal purrs and some crushingly heavy set-pieces.
They kick things off with the roasting glow of Astro(not), a majestic fuzz-rock blast of searching and fragmented hope. “By the time I make it up to you, this jetpack might rust through…” croons vocalist Jonathan Wessel, his soothing and mesmeric tone intertwining with Anakin’s delicious warmth. They take this even further with Cosmosapien, driven by a crisp, crunching guitar line, that grinds forward at a slower pace, showcasing the depth and heaviness to Anakin’s dense and well-crafted sound – especially the way these Pixies-fuzz rock guitars slam into the eerie, synthesised washes – it’s frankly, sublime.
A sudden surge of uplifting joy will travel through your veins on Lucidity – it stamps forth under a strong post-hardcore-gait, topped off by some excellent electronic flourishes, a grumbling bass-hum and Wessel’s dream-like haze vocals. Drummer and lyricist Brad Chancellor actually penned this track after the passing of his father-in-law, making the lines “say goodnight, say goodbye….” and the haunting, overlapping whisper in the closing refrain, stating “don’t leave this dream please” tells you just how personal and from the heart this song is. Satellite is an absolute blast of upbeat, Weezer-lite pop-fuzz-punk and perfect for a summer’s day – packed with hooks and a simple, yet, memorable chorus (“we’ve redesigned our satellite, disconnected minds, won’t synchronize…“) and it sounds utterly gorgeous – you couldn’t ask for better sci-fi poetry.
The term space-rock couldn’t be more aptly stamped all over Celestial Frequency Shifter, which will engulf you in some of the warmest and richest sounding guitars you’ll hear this side of pop-punk..
“No, these aren’t the droids you’ve been looking for” is a great throwaway line to Star Wars on the sombre-shift that is Ctrl.Alt.Del – which zooms past under a wave of distorted, bliss-inducing guitars, a wave of crushing keys and pounding drum patterns. Artificial is carried by these huge, churning guitar lines and eerie keyboard purrs and sounds more like Florida sludge-poppers Torche experimenting with their Harmonicraft sound, through the bubblegum filter and into the dizzying realm of the cosmos. The slow-spaceship-burning bruise of Protostar, delves into the realms of almost shoegaze; the low, scrapping heaviness of the guitars, not to mention Wessel’s vocals, which are almost lost within the swirling roar. Sunbeam builds on Anakin’s creation of swirling, fluid bliss and throws in some ‘clean’ sounding guitars amongst the layers and layers of progressive fuzz they’ve built over the last 10 tracks.
Imagine Torche attempting to play pop-punk on a space station, but forgetting that their guitars are still tuned ultra-low and the bomb chord is being channelled through a moog and you’ve got Celestial Frequency Shifter by Anakin. Melodic space rock that’s out of this world.