It’s unusual for a band who’ve been around since 2011 to releasing their debut album eight years later, but, for London duo Anavae, the wait has well and truly been worth it in what’s delivered on their long-awaited debut, ’45’.
Opener, ‘Afraid’, works as the perfect introduction, with its contagiously catchy drum beat. You’ll no doubt find yourself joining in with vocalist Rebecca Need-Menear‘s humming – an uncommon choice, but it works so well. The track also sets us up for the running theme throughout this record of past loves, loneliness, and learning to love yourself for who you are.
Although Anavae have always been a band who pride themselves on not falling into one particular genre – a unique trait which sets this pair aside – their ability to write great pop-rock songs is evident in ‘Not Enough’ and ‘Never Want To Love Again’. The former of the two showcases Need-Menear‘s distinctly powerful vocals into an angst driven anthem, and the latter deceivingly sounds like it could be verging into a dance number before well and truly homing back into its rockier roots for the heavier chorus.
Standout moment ‘Humans’ is offered up early on in the record. The lyrics are completely unexpected, but also pretty brilliant, as a choir pleasantly sing “I wanna skin you alive / I wanna wear your flesh like a costume”. The dark gruesome lyrics juxtaposed with the upbeat soundtrack really showcases guitarist Jamie Finch‘s talents, and the attention to detail he adds to each track which really solidifies this dynamic duo.
Halfway through ’45’ is the beautifully haunting ballad, ‘Night’. It’s eerie but so delicately written, and anyone who has ever had to deal with heartbreak and the mixed emotions of loving and hating simultaneously will completely resonate with the lyrics. The string section in the track adds a new level to the sound this band create, and gives the song an almost symphony-like tone.
Although on the whole ’45’ is quite a dark and emotional record, there are a few glimmers of light-hearted gems in the mix. ‘Shy Girls’ is a complete curveball and yet another new sound for Anavae; it has an air of 90s Shirley Manson (Garbage) about it – care-free and rebellious – and can easily be envisioned as a fan favourite at live shows.
Likewise, the extremely fun tongue-in-cheek number ‘Smile’ is full of all the cliché lines that we hear on a regular basis, with cleverly worded lyrics “I ain’t got a bright side / Don’t tell me there’s a silver lining”. It adds a playful nature to the record just where it needs it.
It’s often said that good things take time, and ’45’ is living proof that. Although it’s definitely been a long time coming, as a debut record goes it’s so evident that this is a body of work that this duo have put everything into. ’45’ is an incredible debut, and if there’s any justice 2020 will be year that Anavae finally get the musical breakout they deserve.