ANOHNI’s first solo album outside of Antony & the Johnsons could be the first classic protest record of our age, if it weren’t so thoroughly dejected. Straight from the opener ‘Drone Bomb Me’, she’s bluntly beckoning explosives not to cease, but to “blow my head off” and “explode my crystal guts”. Elsewhere, if Natalie Bennet handwrote every Green Party leaflet in her own blood, the warnings of irreversible climate change still wouldn’t hit home quite as hard as they do on ‘4 Degrees’, and ‘Obama’ is a digital dirge detailing in no uncertain terms her disappointment with the U.S. President – specifically how she “cried for joy” at the election of a man whose legacy is now tarnished by “executing without trial” and “punishing the whistleblowers, those who tell the truth”.Sonically (owing in part to having co-produced the album with Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke) it’s frankly astonishing. But the words are either a thing of genius or just, well, really not helping matters. I’m not sure yet. Lyrically, Hopelessness is steadfastly outward looking, in that its concerns are almost solely to do with the ensuing horrors of the wider world. But ANOHNI’s tortured delivery is one that seems intensely personal, and as the title suggests, it offers no solutions. If there’s any small comfort to be taken from this music, it’s that if you too are paralysed by the inescapable shiteness of everything, ANOHNI knows how you feel.
Live: Barbican – July 7th/8th (sold out)