18 Sep 2014

Children Of Leir / Black Annis (single review)



Mythology has been a source of songwriting inspiration for many songwriters throughout history. The German commune band Amon Duul II dedicated their Yeti album's many instrumentals to the abominable snowman, Goat sing about witchdoctors from their native village, and Julian Cope has sung songs about Stone Circles and everything that comes with them since the dawn of time itself. But when a hypnotic new band, armed with a cannon of interesting influences and a mythological being you've not heard of before, you can't not sit up to attention.

Black Annis hereself:
Very much the Aphrodite of her day
Leicestershire shoegazers Children Of Leir's forthcoming single has down just that; it's called Black Annis, and it takes it's name from some of the local mythology in the Leicester area. It seemed like an intruiging name for a song, and it takes its name from Black Annis; a mythological pagan deity of the evil variety. At the time of writing of the myth of Black Annis, she was said to have killed young children from the area and used their skin as decoration for her cave - which she supposedly dug with her bare hands. Wow, it made me think. Talk about strong, independent women, eh?

But how far does Children Of Leir's single, due for October convey the myth through song? Black Annis is a two and a half minute hypnotic single that has all the influences it needs to be right up my street. Motorik helicopter drums thrust a NEU! influence in your face, whilst a fuzzed out droned up shoegaze tone of the post-Spacemen 3 variety provides the sinister-but-probably-not-sinister-enough melody. On a basic listening level, it's absolutely fantastic. The hooks are hypnotic, the vocals are subsumed beautifully by the reverb of the guitar, and the backing vocals are pretty damn haunting. It's a pretty fantastic track, and although it's not dramatic, it's tight and it's hypnotic.

BUT, there is one thing. For something based on a myth so powerful, and so murderous, it's not very powerful, or murderous. Although a beautiful 168 seconds of drone-pop, the fact that Black Annis is about such dark stuff is something you'd really have to study the lyrics for because it's really not evident from the oh-so-cool riffing. I guess the matter of Black Annis would probably be best tackled in a seven minute epic, with more pained vocals and a more shamanic vibe overall. Still, that doesn't detract from its brilliance as a fine example of nu-gazing dream pop.

In spite of the fact subject matter doesn't QUITE go with the hypnotic shamanic shoegaze, it's not completely contrasting. Whilst they don't build up the creepy atmospheres Robin Guthrie does, it's definitely haunting, like a nu-gaze Julian Cope in full Pagan furore. With Black Annis, Children Of Leir have made their mark in the sand as one of Britain's most exciting new shoegazing bands - coming to you right from the home of the Black Annis. This is a single that is a must hear for any fans of shoegaze, Pagan myths, or Dinger-esque drumming, that will leave you mesmerised, and wanting more. Which is just what you'll get from Children Of Leir in early 2015.

DETAILS
B-side: 'Children of Leir'
Released: 27th October, on SiMULATiONS
Where to buy the 7': HERE
Where to hear it: RIGHT HERE
Rating: 16/20

[written by calum cashin]