Having already got her foot firmly in the door with the help of Portishead and Beak’s producer/instrumentalist/in-house genius, Geoff Barrow, Anika is back with a self-titled EP and once again the pair have teamed up to produce a haunting rostra of covers, debuts and dub reworks.
Opening the album is Anika’s rendition of “I Go To Sleep” by The Kinks, which in keeping with the original… is creepy as hell. The original lovelorn track is renowned for its disturbing tone and the fact that it’s impossible not to imagine it being sung with wide eyes filled with unnerving blankness and a Cheshire cat smile. This version, however, is different. It’s totally captivating. From her striking voice to the ghostly melodies that so accompanies it, there's no escaping Anika and her seemingly permanent sense of paranoia. But then again, why would you want to?
Drawing on the moody nostalgia from decades past (like you haven’t heard that one enough already in 2013), the EP revisits tracks from groups as distant as 60’s girl-band, The Crystals, with the every sadomasochist's theme “He Hit Me”, a 70’s track from Yoko Ono, “Yang Yang”, Nirvana’s “Love Buzz” and even a release a recent as “In The City” from The Chromatics.
Also featured on the self-titled EP is Anika’s own track released on Stone's Throw, “No One’s There” the video to which combines black and white shots of derelict council estates and the musician herself mincing around in claustrophobic darkness to create some bleak, gritty, 80’s post-punk scenes as “Stop looking over your shoulder, no one’s there” echoes throughout. Eerie.
Understandably and endlessly compared to German singer, songwriter and model Nico, Anika may have struck gold with Barrow as a producer, but it’s undeniable that this ex-political journalist’s drowsy, monotone and yet enchanting voice lends just as much to every track as Barrow’s production.
Despite coming under fire from those who describe her music as “lacking personality”, Anika is giving a pre-emptive middle finger to all those who criticize, proving that she takes no prisoners when it comes to plastering her dysfunctional stamp over every track. With Beak as her backing band, reworking each track into sounding like it’s been scattered across a filthy coffee table and cut with enough valium to kill Courtney Love, seems to come naturally, and something which is probably key when covering Nirvana.
Dub this trashy is definitely underrated, but it's also not for the faint hearted (or the manically depressed). Anika is somehow capable of producing sounds that express pure obsession, yet complete originality, and a sense of untamed enthusiasm at the same time as indefinite melancholy, this EP makes me feel awkward in my own company, but I think I might be hooked.