Album Review: Anubis – Homeless

Album Review: Anubis - Homeless

Anubis‘s cinematic, arboreal sound, in some strange way, is perfectly depicted with the album art of their new, sixth studio album Homeless. An Australian band founded back in 2004 with a cinematic inspiration fueling the fires beneath their heels, they have since earned a warm following of listeners, enchanted by the ethereal music they make. Homeless has met my ears with great approval, and much more than that this new album is a wonderfully cinematic piece of work. Fans of atmospheric rock and ambient music; seek no further.

The music of Hopeless transports the listener to a tranquil world. Anubis keeps fairly mellowed out and peaceful in their music, with the performance being shared more or less equally by guitars, clarinet, pianos, laud, and more. The band has themselves a perfect template to make “transcedental” music, and they manage to accomplish that longed-for-sense of fantasy through their instruments. The voice of Robert James Moulding in particular suits the direction of the music perfectly. Instrumentally, the guitar work shared between Dean Bennison and Douglas Skene stands out, rarely leaning towards a prescribed melody, but instead trimming the air with a lush higher-register tone that lines up with Moulding’s vocals.

Anubis - Homeless

The songwriting on the album tends to favour shorter tracks, and for the direction of the music, I would say that this is the best thing that Anubis could have done, given their approach and style. None of these are ‘epics’ by the traditional prog rock definition of the term. Instead, the compositions float like ambient pieces, loosely flowing but never feeling improvised. This can tend to feel a little aimless upon initial listens, but it warms up as the music becomes more familiar.

Many of the vocal melodies and harmonies sound like they could have been written in the early ‘80s, and the instrumentation is a fitting contrast. The musical foundation here certainly rests on the innovations of the “classic” symphonic proggers, but Anubis distinguish themselves for their modernization of the sound. I would never have expected it, but there is a decided sense of post-rock texture and atmosphere built into the tapestry. Soft guitar ambiance and accent-chimes recall Porcupine Tree. Given the overall belief that Porcupine Tree is among the greatest acts of the past three decades, this is a big compliment; the spacious production and diverse instrumentation gives the impression of something rich and relevant to the current progressive rock scene. Most of these songs rest between four to five minute mark, and Anubis manages to make each interesting and rich, although the driven “Entitled”, wonderfully poetic title track, and emotionally gut-wrenching “In Shadows” account for some of album’s highlight cuts.

A fine work of sincere beauty, Anubis do well to transport the listener to some new heights. Homeless requires time and a degree of patience to unlock its beauty and charm, but once that beauty is finally revealed, it’s utterly impossible to deny or ignore it.

Homeless is available from Bandcamp here. Follow Anubis on Facebook and Twitter.

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