MUSIC REVIEW: ANNAHAR

Photo: Annahar
by Brian Campbell

On paper Fife trio Annahar have it all: infectious melodies, smoothly soaring vocals, good looks and a growing fan base. Add to this their innate on-stage dynamic and natural charisma, and the new poster boys of alt-pop look destined to be mainstays of Scotland’s burgeoning music scene.

“We’re proud to be included in that bracket,” says lead singer Alexander Wilson when I put it to the band that they’re part of a renaissance of Scottish pop music. “The Scottish scene is so energetic right now, and it’s phenomenal to think that we’re considered a real part of it.

“But I also think a lot of bands sound the same these days – the challenge is to sound different and stand out, that’s where creativity and longevity lie.”

Alexander has a point. At a time when the live music gigs are dominated by rocky guitar heroes, Annahar (after initially dabbling in the same) is embracing synths and dream-pop vocals to create an altogether more distinctive, contemporary sound. First single ‘How to Fly’ – available to stream on Spotify – points to a desire to play with sounds that elicit an exact emotional response.

“The song is about realising your potential and wanting the best for yourself”, says Alexander. “The lyrics might seem very metaphorical but it’s basically about asking the universe for the help and guidance to go as far as you can.”

And as that sense of hope builds in the lyrics, so does the track’s 80s-tinged soundscape. Think Christine McVie meets Pnau as the band sails through a melodic ode to optimism in the chorus to a climactic instrumental close that showcases the competency of the band’s playing.

Drummer Liam Napier says the metaphor can be extended to the band, too.

“For me it’s also about the band’s development”, he says. “It’s saying that we want to grow, we want to achieve the maximum that we can with the help of the world and those around us. Basically, if we could fly, we wouldn’t just fly to another country, we’d fly to the moon.”

This attitude has already taken the band far, as well as the single release they have been performing in some of the central belt’s most iconic venues, including Edinburgh’s Sneaky Pete’s and Three Sisters, and live music stalwart PJ Molloy’s in Dunfermline. They also played two well-received sets on the outdoor stages at the Edinburgh Fringe, and were one of the highlights of the first Fife Pride in Kirkcaldy, even being asked to extend their set due to audience demand.

“That was a fabulous day,” says guitarist Jack Bryce. “We have a lot of friends who are part of the LGBT community and supporting them felt very important to us. Not only that, but it was a huge gig – the energy was amazing.”

The gig diary is filling up for the rest of the year too, and next single ‘Heroin’ – a dreamy ode to the addiction of sexual attraction that features an equally addictive trance-like bridge – continues the band’s focus on making a unique sound for the Scottish music scene.

“We have a very clear idea of the sound we want to create,” says Jack. “We feel like it is something that we as a trio are meant to achieve. We could say our ultimate dream is to play Wembley, but it wouldn’t ever stop there for us. The real dream is to create this sound, our own perspective on music, and then share it with as many people as possible.”

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