This album, Anti, is the third release of the Majorquian post-rock band/collective F/E/A (Forces Elèctriques d’Andorra). The band aren’t really “anti” anything, in fact they’re a sort of pot-pourri of “post-rock avant-garde” than anything else – recorded live with Toni Salvà at Diorama Sound and mastered by Doug Henderson at Micro Moose Berlin, the record captures as never before the sound of the band, showing them at the peak of their strengths, with a unique blend of mantric primitiveness and evocative epic that has made them a well known and respected name in the underground scene, both in the island and abroad.
The group’s sound can be described as instrumental rock, hugely influenced by avant-garde sounds; from the post-rock textures of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Mogwai to the forcefulness of the post-metal of Russian Circles; from the minimalism of Glenn Branca to the abrasive noise-rock of Boris or Sonic Youth; from Swans’ no wave dissonances to the hypnotic rhythms of Spacemen 3 or Popol Vuh, F/E/A’s music has been described as primitive, hypnotic and atmospheric, three adjectives with which they feel very comfortable!
Anti the album marks a turning point for the band as well, with the international release in Europe via Sliptrick Records, in the USA with Electric Talon Records and with the support of Error! Music in Spain.
The album opens with Rodellar, and you’re immediately drawn into a gently developing, warmly enveloping psychedelic vibe that’s rather splendid! Just under nine and a half minutes of quality, sumptuous ambient rock – this is the sort of thing you would imagine Pink Floyd producing in the modern era? It builds and ebbs, and flows majestically! Next up is Corpus, which has a darker, heavier feel to it. Shades of Dawnwalker, Klone, Mogwai are all in there..
Malpas bounces in with an insidiously energetic toe-tapping rhythm. Again hints of bands like BRUIT, Empyre, Molybaron, it’s melodic and quite spacey with synths swirling around in the ether, before becoming an absolute beast of a riff-fest for the last couple of minutes – really powerful, this is quality stuff!
52 has a similarly melodic, gentle, almost pastoral intro until the riff hits you! Underpinned by some relatively simple but so hard-hitting drumming that strongly reminds me of John Bonham (bless’im…). The second movement (fitting term here) reverts to a gentle, sparse and simple lead phrasing on both guitars, slowly building in a classic organic style, even the subtly swirling synth gives you the felling it’s getting nearer and darker! The final section takes us back into a metal riff-fest, simple enough but very effective, crowned nicely with some lead licks – this is a thoroughly tasty composition!
Orsini follows the same constructive process, a clever phasing of lead guitar work, big chords, a nice play of light and shade, a satisfying building up then conclusion to the track, it’s meticulously crafted. Atta Boi is from the same stable, it has a feel of vintage Hawkwind about it sometimes in the metronomic metal-work stakes, rumbling along nicely!
And then we come to the album’s finale – Wata. Eleven and a half minutes of epic ambient rock. Imagine a modern, metal version of some of Hawkwind’s or Floyd’s longer creations and you get the flavour. It’s a bit of a slow-burner as you’d expect but suitably crescendoing…
Tell you what, I thoroughly enjoyed the craftsmanship on this album – being totally instrumental it sometimes struggles to hold your attention 100% of the time in the way that ALL instrumental albums do. But the compositions, the clever variations in pace, the interplay of light and shade in the guitar work, the always-haunting synths, the superbly meaty drumming; it all gels into something that’s very impressive – especially not forgetting that it’s a “live” take! In the same way as you had to get your head around a Floyd album to really absorb it, preferably in the dark over headphones, this album is a powerful creation that, if you’re in the mood to absorb it, you’ll be totally immersed in a spacey, melodic-metal groove!
Anti was released June 6th, 2023 via Sliptrick Records