Stones Throw Records will be releasing Anika’s self-titled EP on April 16. The UK political journalist turned post-punk singer is known for her somber vocals in the band Beak>, produced by Geoff Barrow.
Her unmelodious voice creates an unsettling tone against electronic sounds of older generation covers, setting this artist apart from the norm.
Anika grew up in the outskirts of London. She was exposed to various music styles, including r&b, hip-hop, garage rock, and britpop. She learned to mix and taught herself to play acoustic guitar. Some of her influences were early works of PJ Harvey and Nick Cave, artists she said she respects because “[They] take risks and don’t mind offending.”
Like her debut self-titled LP (2010), Anika mostly does covers in her new release: Yoko Ono’s “Yang Yang” (Dub), the Kink’s “I Go to Sleep,” Nirvana’s “Love Buzz,” the Crystals’ “He Hit Me,” and Chromatics’ “In the City.” Anika said she chooses artists of the past that have “honesty and rawness” in their music.
“Borrowing other people’s songs meant we could concentrate on the form and messing with them,” she explained. “It’s great reworking the past and giving it new meaning…It’s like the Imagist movement where they openly encouraged borrowing from the past and reshaping [it].”
Each song in the EP is unique to each other in style and composition. “In the City” has a catchy funk track that could have been released in the ‘70s disco era.
Anika takes the girl group ‘60s tragic song “He Hit Me” and turns it into an eerie track with Anika’s emotionless vocals. Her impassive voice in her music draws attention to the lyrics. It is a raw sound that goes against the norm of singers, much like her predecessors in her covers.
Two of her six songs are dubbed versions from her debut album, “Yang Yang” and Anika’s original, “No One’s There.” When asked why she remixed the two songs, she replied, “I think these had the most dub influences in them already, so they lend themselves well to a dub remix.” “Yang Yang” and “No One’s There” sound hypnotizing with weird electronic sounds and echoing vocal effects.
Anika’s songs are not everyone’s choice in music, but for Anika, a mixed result is not an issue. “[My music] was always meant to be an experiment, and when you experiment, people are often left confused or don’t like the result…It seems to divide people, but I am happy about that.”
One thing is for certain, fans of Nico or European post-punk style will appreciate the collaborative work of Anika, Beak>, and Geoff Barrow, resulting in weird, minimalist music with political and cultural messages.