Antony Hegarty, aka ANOHNI, has teamed up once again with Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke to deliver ‘Paradise’, the companion EP to her excellent Mercury Prize-nominated album ‘HOPELESSNESS’ (Rough Trade, 2016). The seven-piece is, as expected, an experimental and emotional work loaded with brave and deep lyrics on ecocide, women, believes and power, that follows the path opened with her controversial and critically-acclaimed last year’s album.
“In my dreams you don’t love me, in my dreams you can hurt me” gently sings ANOHNI in her moving opening track ‘In My Dreams’ right before the powerful cut ‘Paradise’ bursts in. The title track, which we covered two months ago, is one of the highlights of the album, a piece that encapsulates the sound of ‘HOPELESSNESS’ and the bold message that the British-born artist has been spreading for over a year. Another synth call for resistance in the shape of a club banger as she previously nailed in ‘Drone Bomb Me’ and ‘4 Degrees’ in her full-length.
“My mother’s love
her gentle touch
my father’s hand
rests on my throat”
‘Jesus Will Kill You’ turns into a heavy critic of power and politics which could be the perfect companion to ‘Obama’ from ‘HOPELESSNESS’. It is another experimental protest song, another attempt to make us listeners think about our crumbling reality and our passiveness over it. “What is your dream? And when will it end? You’re a mean old man” could be addressed to the US president as much as to any leader and people in power who is “burning (the) planet, all for your wealth”.
“What’s your legacy?
Burning fields in Iraq
Burning fields in Nigeria
Burning oceans, burning populations
Our burning lungs”
After the melancholic ‘You Are My Enemy’, the upbeat sonic-cheerful ‘Ricochet’ deals with ANOHNI expectations on the afterlife, or more precisely, on her desire for the lack of afterlife. Singing “When I die and gone, if I find I carry on, I’m gonna hate you, my god” will probably generate some enemies and controversy as much as supporters, but this is most likely what is all about for the Academy Award-nominee artist, leaving no one indifferent.
The closing track on the released EP, ‘She doesn’t Mourn Her Loss’, is a crying emotional ballad about ecocide, on how we are destroying our planet and ecosystem while we look to the other side. The track is wrapped up with a woman voice reciting a call for action, for inclusiveness and consciousness:
“We are wondering what is happening to the world. Everything has change, changing each day. You woke up in the morning and wondered ‘is it going to get better or getting worse?’ Everybody is wondering, young and old. Everything is going upside down. How are we going to stop it and work together and make the world a better place to live all of us?”
ANOHNI revealed on Facebook that there is a seventh track that belongs to ‘Paradise’ but hasn’t been released together with the EP. ‘I Never Stopped Loving You’ will be available in exchange of an email to the artist in which you share “what you care most about, or hopes for the future […] the price for this song is a gesture of anonymous vulnerability. That may be too expensive for some of you, and that’s okay”.
‘Paradise’ is another brave and abrasiveinstallmentt from Hegarty, another rewarding work in the form of a brilliant contemporary critic that is as hard to take as ‘HOPELESSNESS’. It is a moving work with no taboos that probably will achieve its main purpose: wake up our sleeping conscious and make us think on possible ways of intervention.
Rough Trade Records | 2017
Tracklist & Stream