Anoice‘s music is so lovely that it’s easy to forget how topical it can be. In 2020, they released invisible wall, which reflected the “anger, sadness and hate” of the pandemic years. Now in 2023, they have released the companion EP unerasable fire, which was prompted by “division, isolation and war.” The covers are a perfect pair, a crow in one, a wolf in the other, each biting down on a mysterious glowing ball. Is the ball the beauty of Earth, stolen by the crow (a symbol of sickness and death) but then preserved by the wolf (a symbol of freedom and independence)? In only the past five years, we’ve traded one horseman of the apocalypse for another, with two yet to follow.
Like invisible wall, unerasable fire is a mostly somber affair, with guest spots from Films and Matryoshka’s Calu. But the second EP is also more dramatic than the first, a rising tension in the opening track bursting into “civil war” mid-piece. This sounds more like the Anoice we’re used to, with guitar, loop and wordless vocal. “the suspicion” pairs chimes with ghostly echoes, a narrowing of trust. Dark piano keys are met by morphing drones, unable to reach the light. “isolation” is lonely and forlorn, primarily piano, a mournful interlude. “monster” begins in a similarly humble fashion before shifting to pounding keys, drums and dissonant strings, a workout worthy of its title. By track’s end, glissandos and giant guitar chords suggest the monster has arrived. “keep silence” is dominated by whispers, implying a need to speak in times of oppression. A tiny piece of static weaves in and out of the closing moments, like a failed transmission or a signal unheard.
The liner notes of invisible wall start with this statement: “The world I had once known no longer exists.” This extinct world did not return after the pandemic; instead, it was replaced by another unattractive beast. The mood of unerasable fire is a reflection of global disappointment. Only the title stands in counterpart; somewhere the fires of faith still burn. (Richard Allen)