Turn up Beat My Distance and get lost in Anemone’s dream world.
Music has no seasons and thank goodness for that. As ice and snow envelops most of the country, it can be very difficult to escape the frigid grip of the coldest season. But if you can find a warm place indoors, close your eyes, and put on music that almost literally produces warmth, you can escape for a moment to a place where the roads are clear, water flows and you’re slightly less beaten down by winter’s brutality. It’s right there on the front cover of Anemone’s debut full length Beat My Distance, an oil painting by Montreal based-artist Léonie Dishaw: a woman on a moped, wearing pastel colours, surrounded by palm trees looking happy and warm and yet, there is something abstract and not quite real about the scene. It looks like a dream.
If its cover looks like a dream, it’s probably because Beat My Distance sounds like one — a group of Montréalais imagining their beautiful island-city of snow is actually Los Angeles, where the warmth melts away life’s problems. Of course, life’s problems do not just melt away in the heat, something Chloé Soldevila clearly knows. By colouring her lyrics about fickle hearts and relationships circling the drain with psychedelic swirls and engaging grooves, this dream state feels authentic. Everything isn’t fine, but while we are lost in this song, everything doesn’t matter as much because we can escape the cold and the bad love and just dance.
Anemone’s previous release, the revelatory EP Baby Only You & I, is grounded by a suite of disco-rock that changes and blends together so subtly, that it takes several listens to realize they are mixing and remixing two songs into each other; at no point does the groove let you go. It is a quick twenty-two minutes of vibe. Beat My Distance, on the other hand, is a clear attempt at making an album of songs, and for the most part the band succeeds. “She’s The One”, for example, immediately grabs you. It’s highlighted by Soldevila’s gorgeous melodies and organic, LCD Soundsystem-esque percussion. “Daffodils” also shows that the band has pop chops as well as a keen eye for detail on the production end of things.
Ironically, the songs that grab me most are the ones that focus more on vibe than tight songwriting. The perfectly drawn out and up-tempo “Sunshine (Back To The Start)” and the anthemic, jammy closer “Only You” succeed by being allowed to breathe, build, and settle into a great groove. Occasionally, the pleasant, brief nature of some songs, such as the unnecessary “Segue” and the aptly named “Vanilla (Here We Go Again)” lets the music disappear, but it is never long before Anemone pull you back into their groove. Beat My Distance is without a doubt the most sonically pleasing album released by a Canadian group so far this year and is an excellent debut by a band that has mastered the modern art and complexity of creating vibe. So the next time it’s too awful to face what’s really going on outside, turn it up and get lost in Anemone’s dream world.