PHOTO CREDIT: Anteros/Getty Images
I have been speaking about the lack...
of fun and pop in music and, more and more, people are starting to sound the same. That sound is not especially uplifting or optimistic: instead, it is somewhat downbeat and really does lack a real sense of kick. There are some Pop artists around that can bring energy but in terms of depth, perhaps it is not the most affecting. We have not really got any movements that sort of promote positivity and something rousing because, more and more, the music industry is lacking any focus. That is understandable as there are so many artists around but one has to dig hard to discover anything that puts you in a better mood. I admit that artists like Lizzo can bring the funkiness and sass to the party but, away from her, where does one go? Maybe the style of Anteros is different to someone like Lizzo but they definitely know how to craft an immediate and catchy song! The band formed back in 2014 and comprises Laura Hayden, Joshua Rumble; Jackson Couzens and Harry Balazs. Beginning life as a duo – Hayden and Rumble started Anteros – the numbers have grown and, with it, the musical palette. One does not even need to listen to the band to know that colour and a certain vibrancy are at their heart. In some ways, they seem like a 1980s band such as Blondie – I know they started life in the 1970s but I associate them with the following decade.
IMAGE CREDIT: Getty Images/Anteros
You have this female lead that has this very cool aesthetic and swagger; a brilliant voice and a confidence that makes every song shine. Behind her, the tight band who can bring plenty of groove, energy and confidence. I love that, even looking at photos, you can tell they are going to be interesting and different from everyone out there. The band has just released their long-awaited debut album, When We Land, and the album is filled with big tunes and plenty of jangle. I love songs such as Afterglow and Wrong Side but, in actuality, every song shines and has its place! There are not many out there who are doing the same thing as Anteros. Although some of the songs address a certain tension and unhappiness, the band never drag the mood down: instead, they have this sense of motivation and spirit that elevates the tracks and gets them into the blood. The reviews for When We Land have been largely positive. I have seen the odd myopic review that bemoans the clean production and the fact songs, to them, lack any real depth and memorability. The production sounds great and it needs that polish to make it pop and resonate; the lyrics are actually perfect for the type of Pop that the band are putting out – walking that line between catchy and fun and diverse and challenging. They do not, as many of their peers have already done, created something that is quite tense and heartbroken. Rather than do that, they are keen to make sure everything puts you in a better mood.
This is lacking in music and, as such, reviews have been pretty warm. DIY were keen to have their say and give their thoughts:
“Even before releasing an album, a reputation for glamorous, retro pop trailed Anteros on the back of sold-out shows and irresistibly catchy singles. On debut LP ‘When We Land’ they expand these ideas, moulding vintage influences to their strand of social commentary.
The woozy ‘Drive On’ exemplifies this approach; it’s immediately captivating, with faraway guitar riffs that bring to mind a sun-bleached West Coast captured in a Polaroid picture. Lyrically, however, it describes a garbage-strewn wasteland as it’s ignored by passers-by.
Nodding towards the drama and contrast that Anteros bring to their music, it’s easy to imagine the album as a soundtrack to a movie, tackling topical issues with a flair for the dramatic. ‘Ordinary Girl’ is pared-back and anthemic at once, and ‘Wrong Side’ is the most straight-up pop cut from the record, tailor-made for a night on the dancefloor.
With a decent whack of expectation behind the band since the early success of ‘Breakfast’ and the swaggering slow burn of ‘Drunk’, it would have been easy for Anteros to lose their footing. But on ‘Where We Land’ the band sound firmly grounded and ready to take on the future”.
In another review, The Line of Best Fit provided their take when it came to the evocative and catchy music of Anteros:
“What ties it all together is the dreamlike synths, Hayden’s diverse and unique vocals, and the coupling of thought-provoking lyrics with impossibly catchy choruses. The tempo of the chorus to “Honey” inspires dancing, whilst its words explore a toxic relationship, feeling trapped and incapable of walking away. It is only in “Let It Out” that the tempo drops momentarily, and a soaring vulnerability is revealed. It is the emotional core of the album, Hayden singing “let it out, I don’t need to pretend” as imploring as she is affirming of herself – until the very end of the song when she gains strength and conviction...
The eponymous track, “Anteros”, makes a fitting closer for the band’s debut album. “Could this be the first part of the last start?” is repeated over and over, but it’s hopeful rather than unsure. They sound like a band who already know the answer”.
In the final review I will source, Gigwise explained how Anteros have an alternative to combatting tough times – whereas so many others are quite po-faced and depressing:
“When We Land is loaded with air-punching dance anthems and toe-tapping tunes that you can sing your heart out to. While most bands have been preoccupied with delivering weighty records to navigate the current chaos, Anteros opted for a more fun-filled approach to surviving these trying times. Although we will always need music which stands against all the ills and calls out the injustices in the world, there is still a place for bands to lighten the mood, make us smile and give us a much-needed timeout from thinking about our shitstorm of a society - Anteros seem to gladly step up to the plate and fulfill that need with When We Land”.
For those who feel Anteros lack a sense of depth and seriousness, try looking out at the current climate and asking whether, in such testing times, we need that?! There are so many who are talking about depression, anger and hate and, whilst that can be good and constructive, too much of it does drag you down. Instead, with some shiny production, catchy choruses and a sense of the bright, the band bring something more encouraging, enriching and escapist to the party – whilst still able to write about subjects that are quite personal and raise their eyebrows when needed. Not long before the album came out, Laura Hayden and Harry Balazs spoke with Dork about When We Land and what defines their music:
“...This is how an evening out with Anteros goes. There’s a palpable energy that jumps out from being in their company, a band bustling with ideas, creative outlets, hilarious stories but also an understanding and perspective of what they want to be and what they want to mean in 2019 - it’s a ride that captures a band on the cusp of a thrilling journey.
“Right now, we’re in a blissful in-between spot,” notes Laura, “because the album isn’t out yet but it is finished so I’m just really making the most of this moment because whatever happens when the album comes out, I feel like we’re proud of what we’ve made. We didn’t want to follow any trends; we wanted to stick to the music that we wanted to make and not try to go, well, what are we? Are we this or that? We were more like, if we want to chuck in weird fucking sounds, then we’re going to do that. Since the beginning, we’ve wanted to make music that’s not going to sit in an algorithm.”
From the very beginning, there was one philosophy that stood at the core of Anteros. A mission statement if you will. “There are no limits. That was the only goal, that there wouldn’t be any limits,” explains Laura. “We said the sky’s the limit, the longer we can do this for the better - and that it’s also okay to say that you want to do this for a long time.”
Joined by guitarist Jackson Couzens and bassist Joshua Rumble, that desire and standing as people that can’t be categorised into one lane has been a permanent one that’s risen from a young age.
“From a young age, you’re meant to know where you belong, and people project what they want for you, onto you,” recalls Laura. “If you dare try to get out of that it’s like, woah - wildcard! I didn’t fit into one type of person”.
In fact, those who feel that the fun tones and energy is backed by something quite throwaway and juvenile, some have labelled Anteros as being, at times, bitter and heartaching. It is clear that, since the very start, they have been keen to share their experiences but, even back in this 2018 interview there was a need to rebel against the darkness. Again, Laura Hayden explains why Anteros’ vision needed to be like it is:
“In a time where everything seems quite dark,” Laura begins - a vocalist with clear visions of the world she lives in, and how her band fits into it - “you wanna make people think. Not in a way that’s gonna make them cry, but it in a way that’s gonna make them stronger. It’s the natural thing for us to do, because that’s how we use music ourselves as people. ‘Drunk’, for example,” she continues, citing the band’s 2017 single, a track that comes complete with an invincible, funk-inspired strut”.
The band has grown in confidence and scope over the past few years and they continue to look ahead. There are loads of positive reviews out there for When We Land so ensure you grab a copy of the album and give it a good spin! The guys are heading up and down the county over the next few weeks so make sure you catch them and see what they are all about. Their live sets are always crackling and memorable so there will be many thrilled fans that will get to see their new album brought to the stage. It is exciting times for Anteros and, after a bit of a wait, it is good they have an album out. They will build from here and I think they occupy a very rare space. There are not that many bands who have the same balance and blend of sounds. When we are all feeling tense and unsure, Anteros provide us with some fist-pumping anthems and songs that will definitely bring a smile to the lips! I will continue to follow them because I feel they are a headline act of the future. This year’s festival headliners are, largely, not that exciting and fun so we need to foster bands like Anteros: bringing that determination, uplift and colour. They keep saying how they want to be different and, if there is an unusual sound that pricks their ears, they’ll chuck it in! This is a commendable attitude and something that will see Anteros remain and succeed. I will leave things there but I wanted to recommend the group because they are definitely someone you should seek out. Maybe you are unsure their music will suit you but fear not: one dip into their warm, vivacious and enticing water and you will be converted...
PHOTO CREDIT: Anteros/Getty Images
RATHER quickly indeed.
PHOTO CREDIT: DORK