Much like the Greek language from which the band name Anathallo is derived, their music is foreign, difficult and grandiose. The bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s first full-length album, Floating World (the English translation of Ukiyo, a Japanese term describing a pleasure-seeking culture or lifestyle) is a concept album based on a Japanese folk tale. The execution of such a lofty goal might limit the audience to that of the progressive listener.Anathallo hail from a college town in Michigan. Yet, the group resembles a troupe of ex-high school band members by characterizing their sound with extensive, quirky percussion and horns. The use of inanimate objects such as chains and pipes, to their credit, add an element of originality and indicate a taste for the avant-garde. At first listen, the band appears to have no obvious influences. A somber Polyphonic Spree is a close, but incongruent comparison. Anathallo lack the Spreeâ€šÃ„Ã´s vocal melodies and heart. Uniqueness is typically an asset, but the dissonance and lack of conventional song structure, particularly on tracks such as â€šÃ„ÃºHanasakajijii (two: floating world),â€šÃ„Ã¹ leave the listener feeling disconnected and uneasy.
This is by no means a singles album, each track flows from one to the next, however, the relationship between each is unclear. Having to do background research on an album can be irritating. Despite this, some standout tracks include â€šÃ„ÃºHanasakajijii (four: a great wind, more ash),â€šÃ„Ã¹ â€šÃ„ÃºThe Bruised Reedâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºKasa No Hone (the umbrella’s bones).â€šÃ„Ã¹ An appreciation of chamber music or similar artists, such as The Decemberists, may entice a listener who likes to challenge their ear.