Listen to their breakout EP ‘Are You Dreaming?’ and you’ll hear a band that splices the razor-sharp electronica of Phantogram with the alt-rock sass of Paramore, yet the result is something unmistakably theirs. Something that takes the gritty glamour of urban living in 2017, and threads it through with bass as well as “bits of electronics” as the band themselves put it.
Formed in London in late 2011 by frontwoman Rebecca Need-Menear and guitarist Jamie Finch, it’s this fusion of highly creative personalities that makes the band stand out. “After a couple of years of making music together pre-Anavae we decided it was time to take a sharp, new direction alone,” says Rebecca. “We shared a different vision from the people we were working with so we branched off and started creating as a two piece. That enabled us to make music that was pure to what we were feeling; we wanted to start loving what we were writing and start living what we were thinking.”
“The songs come from what we’re feeling, hating, loving. A lot of my lyrics are about a personal identity crisis. What it means to be human and the point of existence. How to exist, why to, not wanting to. We’re inspired by anything and everything. Sci-fi movies, novels, soundscapes, images, voices.” “We love movie soundtracks,” adds Jamie. “Performing or collaborating with someone like Hans Zimmer – well, that is the dream, really.”
“All Or Nothing” starts the EP off with a punch, while the second track, “Forever Dancing”, sees Rebecca’s kinetic vocal chops pushed to the front of brokenhearted ballad that oozes delicious melancholia. “Are We Alone?” follows with a trickle of kalimba chimes, the rest of the song building with layers both electronic and organic. Whispered call-and-response vocal play sits atop a bed of ghostly electronica until Rebecca takes centre stage with a seismic chorus that skewers the core melody as an enormous, futuristic torch song. “And I’m not ready to feel alive,” purrs the singer as the tidal wave of a chorus cascades into view.
Other influences include horror writer Clive Barker and sci-fi icon Arthur C. Clarke. It’s clear the duo are concerned with fantasy and escape. “It feels like opening a door,” says Rebecca, a photographer by trade, no stranger to the immortal capture of beauty. “And it feels like relief.” All Rebecca and Jamie’s influences are apparent in Anavae’s creative output – which makes sense when you consider they conceive not only the songs, but the music videos and artwork as well.
The EP’s fourth track, “Stay”, sees Jamie’s guitar again illuminating a yearning torch song, Rebecca’s lung-busting vocals soaring atop glitchy electronics. Finally, there’s “Lose Your Love”, a haunting, rolling song that Rebecca’s affecting voice cuts through like a knife. Grappling with internal turmoil, she sings “Do I follow you? / Or go my own way?”
“We want to continue fusing genres and sounds, splicing together ideas to create something new” says Rebecca. Are You Dreaming? just proves how this edgy alt-rock band is taking the world by storm.