It’s been eleven years since the release of the debut album by Berlin-based DJ, musician and former political journalist Anika Henderson, known professionally just by her first moniker. The new album is called Change, and it couldn’t be a more appropriate title; how different a world it has become in the decade and a bit since her debut self-titled collection of songs.
So what can we expect from the sophomore collection? Change is made up of nine tracks, with elements of the moody, sexy and dramatic, all with a deadpan vocal delivery. Never once does Change get in your face and scream at you. Instead, it moves along at a subtle and relaxed pace, giving you the time to listen to what’s being said. Its fair to say Anika is a cool customer.
The production relies mainly on dark, brooding electronic sounds, with half melodic, half spoken word vocals. Experimental to the last note, channelling the likes of Yoko Ono, delivering an album that sits firmly outside of the box. Things starts off with recent single Finger Pies, which sounds like the soundtrack to a late night movie. As the leading single, it perfectly represents what the rest of the album is about. The eight tracks that follow continue in the same nonchalant vibe.
There are a couple of stand out tracks. Critical is up next, and takes things lyrically to an even darker place, with references to slipping someone cyanide (maybe taking notes from Gaga and Beyonce’s Telephone video?) The deadpan delivery contrasts with the innocent toy piano arrangement, to the point you need you need to listen again to check you’re hearing the words right. My other highlight is in the shape of the lively, vibrant and beat-heavy electro pop track Naysayer, which shakes things up mid album, bringing Change to its crescendo. After this point, I couldn’t help but want more of this side of her.
Closing track Wait For Something is an unexpected, but pleasant way to close proceedings, using more conventional and acoustic arrangements. Its inclusion on the album shows a different side to this creative artist. There are moments when this verges on being a pop album, whilst still keeping it’s artistic and experimental edge. Despite the huge gap between albums Change manages to stay relevant. Whilst some tracks didn’t quite hit base, or hook me in, there are definitely some interesting sounds and good ideas on this collection of songs.
Change is out now.