The debut from Anemone is an EP called Baby Only You & I. It’s an eager little creature. Four tonally measured songs follow the rules for establishing the sound and intention of a artist on a first release. But wait. Then there is a scattering of remixes – reimagining three of the previous four tracks – exploring the possibilities, and experimenting with direction. It’s great stuff.
The brainchild of Chloé Soldevila, Anemone is a project that toys with imagist ideas. The music is misty. Lyrically opaque passages are pleasingly hypnotic, even at their most delicate and swirling. The superficial influences that are evidenced here have us reaching for names like Stereolab and Melody’s Echo Chamber. It’s true, if you enjoy the work of those bands you’ll most likely enjoy Anemone. However, there’s something else at work here – something artful that reaches beyond category.
Before forming Anemone Soldevila spent some time behind the lens of a camera – photographing, and traveling with other musicians. It makes sense then, that she knows how to frame a subject, and how to play with patterns of light. There’s a sense that whilst this is a perfectly balanced musical sequence, if Anemone needed to express something in a different medium songs could transpose into new dimensions.
The psychedelic flavors of this thing are smoky – they twirl and bloom. Soldevila knows how to breathe life into a lyric as if it’s a spell. Title track “Baby Only You & I” is a case in point. The way the word “Me” is delivered through an extended breath at the end of lines draws the ear in. Solid fragments of percussion lay over and then under the vocal track. This echoes back to Fox Base Alpha – but it’s also a track that exists in the now, as the narrator plants herself firmly to face the repercussions of her actions.
The sense of personal identity is strong on the EP. Confident enough to toy with remixes – which are driven, very danceable, and give this stuff legs for extended radio play – the collection is also bilingual. The French language – a reflection of Anemone’s Montreal roots – brings an element of sonic poetry to lyrics that are already playful, inviting, and usually kind.
“Party Theme” is a track that pivots the playlist. The final track in the sequence of ‘proper’ four songs is also the first track in the sequence of three remixes. The effect is disarming, and it answers the need to hit ‘replay’ on the track. It’s a smart thing that Soldevila does – “Oh, you want more? Well, let’s help you dance too.” Her vocal delivery of the chorus is just grand – she’s a superb host.
It’s hard to think of a place where an EP like Baby Only You & I won’t do well. Breezy enough for breakfast and domestic action, it also spans into nocturnal moods well. Anemone scales well to fit the environment. The ego of the artist appears to sit behind her need to explore, and give space to themes. Rather than force any issue this is an EP that simply dances along – and is infectious enough that others will join. It’s a smart mover.