anamnestic fumes is an EP comprised of songs Hardly wrote when he was between sixteen and nineteen years old. The young artist displays some skill beyond his years with these songs. I thought the songs in general had an atmospheric pop-punk feel to the music.
I’ll say upfront that being around twice the age as the artist I was a little concerned if I was going to be relate to the subject matter of these songs one of which is named “Hormones.” On that note I had a hard time making out some of the lyrics because of the lo-fi quality but there was an undercurrent of this coming of age type vibe that I think really only exists in your late teens and early twenties as you hopefully start to come into your own.
The EP starts with “Hormones.” It’s a single guitar that’s smothered in hall reverb making it sound nostalgic and contemplative. The crunch of distortion gets unloaded on the beginning of each measure making it sound like the beginning of a post-rock song. As the song progresses and the vocals enter the song it starts to take on a pop-punk type quality. It felt like an effective intro to the more grounded “Oh Well.” “Oh Well” is pretty straightforward pop-punk which is catchy and built of drums, bass and guitars.
“i don't know” brings out an acoustic guitar. I thought this was the highlight mainly because I thought the vocal melody stuck out. The chorus in particular felt radio ready. It’s also a dynamic song with intense highs.
“Backroads” is almost all atmosphere and vocals. The vocals seems to focus on standard trials and tribulations of youth. “Pouting” felt a bit out of place. I liked the song but it almost felt too ethereal and cosmic sounding compared to the other material. “theboywhochasedthefastlife” is a formidable closer.
As for the production and recording quality the songs have a standard lo-fi him recording aesthetic. At some point I know his songs would benefit from a professional studio. That being said I thought he did a good job with the tools he had.
Hardly is most likely just getting started down his musical path. I think this is a solid start and his music taste will unequivocally evolve over time. I look forward to hearing more from him.
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