Space rock has usually been characterized as having plodding tempos smothered with down tuned, reverb-drenched guitars and floating melodies provided by a singer that popped one too many Valium. Anakin, a quartet hailing from San Diego, California, deliver that aforementioned sound in spades on their debut album, Celestial Frequency Shifter.
Initially it’s difficult not to become entranced by the catchiness of opener “Astro[not]” or the carefully concentrated power of “Sunbeam.” What Anakin intends to deliver – a mid-tempo, low-string crunch, accented by quirky keyboard leads, and topped off by those genre-staple distant vocals – the outfit delivers well.
However, as the journey continues throughout the album, Anakin’s rather straightforward model of songwriting begins to become monotonous. Where the beginning of the release provided a fresh, promising adventure, as the recording continues it becomes increasingly challenging to deny the sinking disappointment of feeling like you’re being swallowed up by a black hole of unimaginative songwriting. Musically, what are lacking are enough twists and turns or highs and lows here – and Anakin’s rather one-dimensional brand of space rock fails to dazzle for the entire duration of the release without them.
For a debut album, there is much to like from Anakin. The band clearly has a vision and a plan for where they want to take their music and are certainly talented enough to write a hook or two, but the execution is where some concern lies. Anakin’s aiming for the upper echelons of space rock, but they need to overcome a seemingly subconscious fear of flying in regards to their songwriting before they get their music to greater heights.
Run Time: 41:20
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Check out the album ‘Celestial Frequency Shifter’ here.