Over the last decade, grunge has become an almost endangered species. In fact, to many it simply represents a noise that died out during the final flickers of the 1990s. Sure, on occasion you can manage to hear ghosts of its past as it bleeds through, mixed into alternative radio stations in the form of some overplayed Nirvana mega-hit or some remixed and resurrected Smashing Pumpkins B-side.
That is why Salute to Solitude, the latest full length by Ana, is as rare as a gallon of ice water in the middle of an endless desert.
The band’s latest effort is the answer that the kid, with a closet full of flannel, has been asking for. A careful listener can gather the shades of the more aggressive sounds of Chicago and Seattle from the budding grudge circuit, even yielding a cover of “ZERO” by Smashing Pumpkins at the end of the cut. Though replicating the beloved Billy Corgan is a nearly impossible task, Ana pulls it off amazingly and with a knack for grunge so tightly honed, one might assume the band actually was born into that generation instead of the one directly preceding.
When listening to Salute to Solitude for the first time, one of things I immediately realized was how excellent the guitar work and drum work was. The band flows from one hook to the next without snags or glitches. Never lingering too long on one rift, the band thrives on diversity. With each song, the band brings something new and unique to their resume. Take for example the album’s opening track “Arsenic Arsenal”. With the power and energy of a band like AFI , “Arsenic Arsenal” is not tight or predictable, instead opting to remain raw with angst and anger.
Couple this with Ana’s ability to create pure, clean, and clear vocals, which remain both balanced and emotionally vicious and aggressive and you’ve got the recipe for a masterpiece. “Army Green,” the final cut on Salute, is the best example of how the band uses their energetic vocals to convey the repressed angst and the pent up anger of the singer. With its punk meets grunge setting, the imperfection in the band’s voice are actually more of an asset, intentionally placed, than a misfortune. Like the godfathers before them The Pixies, Black Lips, and even Sonic Youth, Ana focuses on slamming a hefty combo of emotions and instruments into the mix and doing whatever the hell you want.
Lets be real, you could be in worse company.
Hell, if the above isn’t proof enough that Ana should be on your radar, consider the two live performances at the end of the album. Alternate, live version of “Arsenic Arsenal” and an off album song “Collar” both raise the overall worth of Salute to Solitude. Nothing proves to me quicker that Ana is not pushing a collection of over polished, auto tuned tracks to their fans than bravely releasing a handful of live cuts.
Ana has done just that, making a believer out of me.
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
3.Johnny Cash Was a Farmer
5.I’m so Fucking Romantic
6.Maker Her Sing
7.All For No One
8.Zero (Smashing Pumpkins Cover)
3.Johnny Cash Was a Farmer
4.All for No One
6.Zero (Smashing Pumpkins Cover)
7.Arsenal (live at the Machine Shop)
8.Collar (Live at the Machine Shop)
Written By: Chase Causey