A dazzling debut of utterly organic proportion.
Exploded View is the recently formed project of Annika Henderson, a German-born and Welsh-raised freelance political journalist with a background in club promotion, who forayed into music because she deemed it more progressive than policy development. After performing solo in Mexico supported by backing lineup Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo, Anika (who removed one N from her name so as to keep some distance from herself and her music persona) and her compatriots found they had a chemistry they just couldn’t ignore.
Releasing debut Exploded View under Sacred Bones Records, Exploded View ventures through psychedelic space rock with an improvised krautrock tinge, creating straight-to-tape sessions in a room outfitted to pick up every sound. Recorded first-take unchecked, Exploded View is 11 tracks of interesting and otherworldly sound.
It begins with “Lost Illusions,” a track reminiscent of something Yma Sumac would do but with a staggered sound-bite trademark that isn’t unlike the same looping element the 13th Floor Elevators would weave into every track to give a disorienting effect.
“One Too Many” sees Anika’s vocals come through crystal clear, slightly distorted and deadpan, removed but not listless. With a steely lone guitar searing through to the forefront and simple thudding serving in the percussion role, “One Too Many” is eerie and slightly cruel; Anika says “I’ve seen too many men go down this road again, I’ve seen too many crumble,” but one gets the feeling it doesn’t touch her heart. So far the album is consistent in its feel yet textural, noisy and chaotic enough to be truly refreshing. It’s not weird just to be weird – a pitfall and a failing many less intuitive outfits attempt to use to cover up a lack of inspiration – Exploded View has definitely bottled a chemistry that feels visceral and organic.
“Orlando” takes a more industrial turn with distant, echoing synth tones that are quickly paired with dusted drums, a parallel to the stronger, more metallic “Disco Glove.” “Lark Descending” shares a name similar to the singular classical piece “The Lark Ascending” by Ralph Vaughan Williams (based on the earlier poem my George Meredith), leaving one to wonder from what well – if any – inspiration was sprung. “Gimme Something” shimmers with drumming on par to Carla Azar with frenetic high-hat hits, a spiraling distorted guitar and Anika crooning “gimme gimme, something you know I want” over and over again.
Exploded View has tapped into something that works mightily well and is fresh, engaging and quixotic. A triumphant beginning to what will hopefully be a career of lightning striking twice, three times and music gods be willing – infinitely.