Mathematician Cathy O’Neil told a local Dutch newspaper that the only way to get in contact with kids these days is to stand out by doing something crazy. So she dyed her hair blue. Tricks like these are used by a lot of rock bands to get their revenue streams going. ANMLPLNET didn’t dye their hair just yet but does get frowns going with the first song of their debut album. Here Leah Wellbaum sings about being fucked by a cloud, …reverse cowgirl. Well, gotta hand it to them for this nice placed clickbait.
ANMLPLNET was founded by guitarist Leah Wellbaum and drummer/singer Mickey Vershbow who know each other from the Boston indie scene. The band revolves around four disparate rules:
1. Always drink absinthe while rehearsing.
2. Write lyrics that are antonymic translations: nouns, adjectives and verbs are replaced with their antonyms.
3. Play songs straight through as one giant piece, no breaks.
4. Accept mostly gigs on unusual locations.
The rules explain the lyrics and titles on their six tracks debut Fall Asleep a bit. Although the title of opener ‘I Was Fucked by a Cloud’ sounds rather gimmicky the music is of a pretty high level. The songs builds steadily on Wellbaum’s soft jazzy singing and Vershbow’s careful drumming and ends with a lengthy dreamscape of static guitar noise, which is a standard in the psych scene. The second track, ‘20,000 Leagues Underneath the Serpent’ feels like a new phase of the previous song which seems logical because of the rule to play songs without any breaks. Welbaum’s vocals remain soft and sultry, but lyrically turns the page from sexual exploration to an eight-minute spanning childhood nightmare. Here she sings: “Hi, I am 12. I’m from Arkansas. I collect dead birds. They’re pretty“.
The third and fourth track of Fall Asleep, respectively ‘Ride’ and ‘Elephants Aren’t So Big’, melodically play away for about 12 minutes. On ‘Ride’, a cover from Lana del Rey, Welbaum vocals strongly blooms above the music. ‘Elephants Aren’t So Big’ is a return to the meandering psychedelica which made me think of the Heron Oblivion album we reviewed here two years ago. The last songs are somehow disappointing. ’All the Butterflies’ is pretty flat during the beginning and becomes a standard “oohhoo” pop song after a minute or two. Hereafter the album fizzles out with a dreamy and short soundscape.
Fall Asleep is a nice psychedelic dream pop moniker with a half dozen songs on it. About two-thirds of the album is interesting because of a holistic effort to combine songwriting and improvisation. Also there is enough virtuosity to be heard in the 33 minutes it takes the album to complete. In the end I have to say that ANMLPLNET succeeds to balance themselves between serene indie pop and distorted psychedelica. A job well done. Fall Asleep is a nice addition to this year’s hype train but it could also be something to build on for Wellbaum and Vershbow, so who knows what the future holds in store for both.
Label: Ba Da Bing Records, 2018
- I Was Fucked by a Cloud (6:32)
- 20,000 Leagues Underneath the Serpent (8:07)
- Ride (6:12)
- Elephants Aren’t So Big (6:06)
- All the Butterflies (4:39)
- What I Saw in the Field That Day (1:57)
Review by Wander Meulemans // 050718