EP Review: Anona – S/T

Words by Lady Godiva

Brighton, breeding ground for all kinds of artists, holds some of the crown jewels and best kept secrets of British music. Many of its bands share members with one another as a close knit group of friends, which forms a very interesting jigsaw with everyone’s unique touch making a serpentine line that oscillates from one piece or project to the other.

Anona is the brainchild of one of these blissful collaborations. Fronted by Ella Russell whose most recent work encompasses vocals with Wax Machine as well as playing flute and drums with her own band The New Eves. Also a painter, she skillfully brings to life a full scope of lucid mental pictures that keep stimulating the listener through her poetic and bittersweet tales.

The EP artwork is as intriguing as the songwriter’s different sources of inspiration. Looking utterly theatrical, she appears majestic as a statue, closing her eyes whilst opening ours to her epic narrative. A natural born storyteller, her delicate vocals are perfect ornaments for her folklore laced fables. Her singing bears similarities with fellow Brightonian Rose Io from Rokurokubi in its hypnotic rhythm. 

One ostensibly falls down the rabbit hole with the introductory otherworldly tapestry. “The Boy and The Lion” then incorporates elements of rock and jazz, mingled with flute, surreptitiously creating a genre of its own. Something you’d imagine being played at an alternative banquet with mythological creatures from all eras, a sort of jam of the gods. 

The title track “Anona” makes a further transition to a more uptempo ambiance with a patchwork of influences that feels very colorful and inviting, leaning slightly more towards world music. 

“Alizarin” suddenly conjures up a rather ominous and urban atmosphere that gives goosebumps. Likewise, the trumpet on “Ruby Mountain” is bone chilling, in the most laudatory sense, it is on par with Miles Davis in the soundtrack to Louis Malle‘s iconic film Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur pour l’Échafaud), a tune with a lasting imprint. A stupendous collage which substantiates the magnitude of Anona’s incantations. 

Finally “Moth Song” propels us back to the pastoral outdoors to pertain to an upcoming unfolding in aventures. 

Recorded and mastered by Lau Zanin from Wax Machine, this is the most original release you may hear this year. A masterpiece of an EP concocted by a sorceress, performed by her coven of wizards casting spells with the most incongruous yet euphonious mosaic of sounds to bring into existence each out of this world tale. 

Anona is due out on black and red limited vinyl on November 25th 2022 alongside single ‘Ruby Mountain’, with the digital EP to follow in January 2023.

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