With her 2016 album Hopelessness, Anohni struck out in a bold new creative direction, embracing electronic production with collaborators Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke, and moving away from personal lyrical themes in favor of explicitly political and topical statements. Ten months later, Anohni released Paradise, a six-song EP that serves as a companion piece, following the stylistic and thematic path of that album. Using economic and political patriarchy and the subjugation of female power as her dominant themes, Anohni has made clear with this music that Hopelessness wasn't a one-off project, but the first salvo in a series of uncompromising works redefining her sonic trademark. It's encouraging to know that Anohni seems better acclimated to her new creative boundaries here than she was on Hopelessness. That album had a hard time finding a middle ground between the purposefully harsh and dissonant production and the organic, emotive tone of Anohni's vocals. But Paradise is a more successful collaboration, with Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke's backings aiming for a more conventionally musical tone without robbing their work of its aural signature, while Anohni achieves a more satisfying give and take with the music, finding a more effective level of ferocity on "Jesus Will Kill You" and wounded compassion on "She Doesn't Mourn Her Loss." And while the assaultive nature of Hopelessness was a bit hard to take for 41 minutes, Paradise makes a stronger impression at only 23, making its blunt but powerfully articulate points and then moving on. Paradise suggests it may be a very long time before Anohni gives us another album like I Am a Bird Now (if she ever does), but the strength and vision of this EP offers the promise that she may soon offer us something similarly powerful and moving in her new musical frameworks.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming