Snowden - Anti-Anti (Cover Artwork)


Anti-Anti (2006)

Jade Tree

After the first spin of Anti-Anti I wanted to know just what Jade Tree was thinking. It seemed like they had fallen victim to next-big-thing syndrome by signing a band whose artsy could-be-residents-of-Brooklyn indie sound recalled recent hypees Wolf Parade and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It wasn't until the third or fourth time through the album that I realized the band was not only employing the dance-inducing beats and high-pitched vocals of those aforementioned artists, but were also piling on the delay-heavy layered guitars of acts like My Bloody Valentine and Interpol. The resulting record is like a dance party with atmosphere. The hip-shakers echo and get everyone on the floor, but the slow jams are introspective and droning, allowing time for breaths to be caught and drinks to be downed.

Songs like the title track, "Black Eyes," and "Stop Your Bleeding" are dance influenced numbers with speedy drum work that nearly demands a toe-tapping response. They are positive and celebratory, exuding a sense of optimism through the quickly strummed major key guitars and moving basslines. What is interesting is that the guitars don't carry the typical treble heavy or jagged tone of post-punk dance peers like Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, or the Futureheads. Instead they are a mass of fuzz and hum, creating an echoing drone or muddied texture.

Not everything about Snowden is so bright and half-full however; other tracks like "My Murmuring Darling," "Innocent Heathen," and "Sisters" exhibit a band that is much darker and more mournful. Here the band is simply gazing at their feet rather than moving them to the beat. Melodies become haunting wind like whispers and the guitars find a new home as somber backdrops or abrupt cries.

Snowden may have mixed up the formula a bit, but every now it is still too easy to pick out the original ingredients. Some of the bouncy parts are too Wolf Parade, while some of the brooding moments are too Interpol. Even with these instants of blatant sleeve-wearing however, it is nice to find a band that can take currently popular indie characteristics and work them into their own sound.