Anika at YES

Johnny James, Managing Editor
Anika
Sven gutjahr

Anika at YES, Manchester, 18 April 2022, from £14.00 - Book now

In summer 2021, Berlin-based chanteuse Anika – the project of Annika Henderson – dropped her first solo album in over a decade. It follows her cult favourite self-titled debut from 2010 – an album recorded with BEAK>, filled mainly with covers of ’60s pop and folk songs, delivered with Nico-tinged vocals and a dubby, beat-driven noir. Change – the new one – is, in a way, a second helping, serving up another slice of detached, avant-garde pop. And yet it also moves beyond its predecessor, casting a wider net both sonically and lyrically, while serving up nine original tracks.

In the intervening years between solo records Anika co-founded the electro-psych outfit Exploded View, whose extra-terrestrial second album Obey is well worth a listen if you’ve not heard it. After recording the initial ideas for Change by herself at Berlin’s Klangbild Studios, Anika enlisted the help of Exploded View’s Martin Thulin, who co-produced the album and played some live drums and bass. He helps bring a much wider palette of colours and textures to Anika’s naturally sparse songwriting.

The songs offer skittering, austere electronic meanderings reminiscent of classic Broadcast records or Hi Scores-era Boards of Canada. This isn’t so different to her first record, and yet the sonics the tracks are glazed in are. From the dreamy, glistening atmospherics of opener ‘Finger Pies’ to the elastic-sounding synths on ‘Rights’ to the cavernous industrial ambiance of ‘Freedom’, there’s a whole lot to go at, all of it intense and compelling, especially when played against Anika’s icy, almost cosmic voice.

Lyrically, the political-journalist-turned musician has a lot to say over the course of Change. It’s coloured by the circumstances around its creation, which happened during lockdown. “It’s a vomit of emotions, anxieties, empowerment, and of thoughts like – How can this go on? How can we go on?” says the Wales-born artist, who moved to Germany shortly after deciding to jump careers in her early twenties.

It’s not all dark though; the fraught intensity that runs through the album is buoyed by guarded hope. Anika in fact sees the album as “a treatise on optimism”, and the title track presents this message writ large: “I think we can change, we all have things to learn, about ourselves and about each other”, she proclaims, her voice at its most plaintive. From there, though, the album dips back into nihilism, rising to sunnier climes only fleetingly. It’s thus a genuinely surprising touch when she closes the album with ‘Wait For Something’ – a doggedly optimistic track led by tender acoustic guitar. After an album so emotionally torn at the seams, ending on a note of resolute hope is perhaps Change’ most revolutionary act.

To celebrate the release of the record (albeit belatedly, following some Covid-related postponements), Anika is heading out on a rare solo tour, accompanied by a full new band. We can’t wait to catch her in YES’ intimate basement room on 18 April.

Anika at YES, Manchester

18 April 2022 7:30 pm
From £14.00

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Chinatown Celebrations in Manchester
Childrens Until 29 January 2023, FREE

Chinatown Celebrations in Manchester

Cinema Until 29 January 2023, from £7.95

British Film Stars: Julie Christie at HOME

Activity Until 3 February 2023, from £30.00

Baumka Conscious Clubbing at Victoria Warehouse

Music Until 16 February 2023, from £9.50

Donna Candy at SOUP

vegan super club
Activity Until 17 February 2023, from £50

Supper Club at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School

Exhibitions Until 18 February 2023, FREE

The Confessional at HOME

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME
Festivals Until 18 February 2023,

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside
Families Until 19 February 2023, from £14.00

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside CANCELLED

Activity Until 25 February 2023, from £13

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Tour

Fairy Tales at Z-Arts
Families Until 26 February 2023, from £3.00

Fairy Tales at Z-Arts