Aenima

Never Fragile

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

The pleasantly experimental Never Fragile EP twists and winds around the despondent dream pop of Aenima. Often straying from the blueprint that so many of their contemporaries stick to, the band adds electronic flourishes, operatic vocals, and the occasional heavy metal guitar to their unique compositions. Starting with the cleverly titled "Intro to End All Intros," the band experiments with drill'n'bass while appending gothic keyboards to the stuttered beats. But the next track, "Forlorn," gives a much better idea of what the band is up to. Basslines taken straight from punk rock (just like Spooky-era Lush, an obvious influence), plodding electronic percussion, deliriously chiming guitars, and the distinct self-loathing of vocalist Carmen set the standard for the entire record. It is her upper-octave wail that stands out the most amongst the various elements, as she delivers their depressing tales of apathy in a voice that drips with melancholy. But the record is a showcase for the entire band, who takes pleasure in breaking and bending shoegazer rock into their own image. The ethereal melodies, up-tempo beats, and lifting keyboards of "Rapture" wrap up the album and bring the proceedings to a satisfying close. Lamenting on an emotionally draining relationship, the band launches into the lyric, "I don't mind letting myself go" with a cathartic burst that makes peace with the often dark and bitter songs before it. It may just be a quick EP for the band, but for listeners, this is a lush exploration of emotions that ultimately comes to peace with its own depression. An interesting approach, but one that pays off with a beautiful document of sorrow.

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