Anjimile’s new album The King is of biblical proportions. The first song and title track, in fact, deals with the famous story from the Bible of King Belshazzar and Daniel and the “writing on the wall.” Considering the events surrounding Anjimile’s album, the killing of George Floyd, the violence against Black trans people like themself, it makes sense the grandiose imagery and dark sonic palette of the album. Their songs above all are consequential.
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Where their last album Giver Taker was an album of blessings, this album is more an album of curses. Finding Anjimile praying desperately for themself in a number of songs, it is a desperate album of songs dealing with the violence and hatred of a world that won’t accept them as they are, though there are comforting figures on the album.
“Oh my mother loves to fight / oh my mother raised me right / oh my mother’s god above / oh my mother’s not enough,” the second song recites. The palette of the album reminds me of many Asthmatic Kitty label mates, such as Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, and My Brightest Diamond, a fitting comparison, considering Anjimile’s love for Sufjan growing up and all of the biblical allusion on the album.
But they have found their home on 4AD Records, an impressively fitting home for their grand sweeping arrangements, filled with twisted guitars and ethereal background singers. There is a taste of African tradition in the arrangements, the guttural vocals, the larger than life imagery. “Anybody / I’m not healing anybody / I’m not feeling any better / I can’t take the dreaming / Cause in my dreams I’m / Screaming.”
“If you don’t find your wound / your wound will find you.” As dark as they are, this is a collection of healing songs, looking directly into the “Black Hole” of loss and damage, in an attempt to salvage something worthy of saving. “Haven’t I earned the right?” Anjimile ends the album, and that is the feel of this epic collection of songs: that through its construction Anjimile has entered into an important conversation with conviction and a dark charm. A powerful album that will be listened to for years to come.
order The King by Anjimile HERE
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