36vultures

Review: Anakin, ‘Celestial Frequency Shifter’

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Written By: Joel Funk Edited By: Caitlin Kohn

For the record, Anakin is an incredible band name for a few very important reasons. First off, it’s an incredible call to Star Wars fans that also perfectly allows this band to make the space driven synth rock that they do. But the second, and probably the most important reason I love this band name so much is that it allows room for change. I know this may be a stretch, but bare with me. Anakin, at one point in time, was a beacon of hope for the Jedi. A Christ figure if you will, before plummeting into the depths of the Sith and becoming the evil [but still very cool] Darth Vader. Imagine being in a band with a name that essentially allows for such a shift, both in appearance and in terms of your sonic output. Can you ask for more?

Existing since 2010, Anakin is still early in the stages of becoming the true space rock, jedi powerhouse they’re destined to become. They have two EPs under their belt, but their debut album ‘Celestial Frequency Shifter’ is the first taste of their music for a lot of us. Their career up until this point was very much like Skywalker’s stay on Tatooine, and signing to No Sleep Records was much like being taken under the wing of Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi. It’s not until this very point that we can all recognize their potential.

‘Celestial Frequency Shifter’ is a very interesting first listen, because the music feels so ahead of its time. Due to the ethereal and atmospheric attributes Anakin’s music has, I could very easily imagine that while Zenon* was busy losing her mind over Protozoa, there would be kids equally as infatuated with Anakin. Especially on songs like “Astro[not]”, “Satellite”, and “Artificial.” These are the three songs that easily stand above the rest. Don’t get me wrong, I really do like this record, but these are the three songs that don’t spill into the others. You can very easily tell that these are new songs and not just one super long track.

To break away from the science fiction comparisons for a second, Anakin has some very familiar sounding characteristics. The best musical comparison I can draw is to a very synth-heavy, and slightly more serious in lyrical content version of Fountains Of Wayne. That’s all in the voice though. Other than that, we’re back to Protozoa and the Jedi. I also think that No Sleep signing Anakin shows awareness on the label’s behalf. How many bands within the same true genre can you sign before you start to feel oversaturated? Bringing Anakin in was a very easy, and very smart way to add some diversity to the label. Kudos to you.

For that same reason, I’m nervous about how people will react to this release. It’s very different than what No Sleep is known for putting out, and I think that may deter just as many people as it attracts. Either way, I’m very excited to see what the future holds for Anakin on No Sleep Records. I wonder if they’ll stay true to their name and become a much darker version of themselves, or if they’ll remain this glimmering beacon of hope the Jedi once thought they had. Only time will tell. Personally, I think it’d be rad if they became two bands: Anakin and Darth(or Vader, or Sith Lord, or what have you) and released a split or two that communicated Skywalker’s duality, but that’s just a very new, and very selfish dream of mine.

‘Celestial Frequency Shifter’ is a very refreshing release from No Sleep. They’re definitely breaking away from the Pop Punk and Hardcore specific holding grounds they’ve been in for quite some time. I know that I personally am a huge fan of this release, and change is welcome so long as they keep making the right moves. To both Anakin and No Sleep Records, may the force be with you. 5/5

* I know, I know. Zenon AND Star Wars. Holy moly.