Toronto art-pop outfit Aniqa Dear is a project that is spearheaded by James Atin-Godden and Aniqa Qadir. The pair formerly played together in the 13-piece art rock outfit Copycat which included horns and an electric violin player. But on Neither Here Nor There, their debut EP together they seek to make ethereal synth driven pop to which Aniqa Qadir sets her pitch perfect and heavenly sounding vocals.
The opening track “Wake Up” has the pace of a slow moving river. As it winds its way along the pace shortens and quickens. There are both pianos and synths and hard click drum tracks which create a beautiful melody to match Qadir’s gentle vocals as she repeats the chime-like chorus “wake up darling.”
Next up comes the slick synth pop fantasy of a song “Neither Here Nor There” which comes in waves and fits. It pounds along and then for just mere seconds stands still before repeating the motions. The pair slow it down a bit on “New Love” which is sometimes stark but still a very powerful piece that gets a lift from eastern music influences.
They get into experimental mode on the oddly catchy “Hiding” which begins with a mild piano-synth rhythms and then about halfway through begins to morph into a more electronic state with blips of sound and prog synth tones. The band play by this strange experimental rule again on “Mouseman” which again starts out like a piano ballad and then shifts into a timid pop hit before turning into an all-out assault on what it began as.
The closer “She” is pretty delicate and precise piece of pop perfection and sounds like the most wholly realized song on the album.
Despite being an electronic two-piece on this recording Aniqa Dear is set to start performing live as a four-piece complete with drums and guitar. It might be nice to hear this collaboration on a recording. For as much as I enjoyed the six songs on Neither Here Nor There, I wanted to hear the drums and synths let go a little more .
Overall, Neither Here Nor There is an impressive album. Recommended
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