Review – “Neither Here Nor There” – Aniqa Dear

reviewed by Jack Derricourt

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Wake up!
You can’t remember where it was
Had this dream stopped?

-The Lizard King

Sometimes the past runs through my fingers
Slippery and like pins in my lungs

-Aniqa Dear

What do you want out of your pop? I want a holiday of noises — some stuff to entertain me, tastefully curated, with a sense of the past mixed into a vision of the future.

Aniqa Qadir (Aniqa Dear) has some tidbits to offer up that fit that description, brought to you via Neither Here Nor There. Her work with James Atin-Godden is a fresh sound, combining layers of analogue instrumentation and very sweet lyrical meanderings with sometimes quite harsh synth sounds to contrast.

The album, track by dreamy track:

“Wake Up” is a menagerie of mysterious sounds and also host to a cosmos of voices. Dutifully, quiet orchestration of the choruses plays off the pounding tabla, and deeply textured verse sections.

“Neither Here Nor There” is sci fi cosmopolitanism, filled with distorted synths and relentless drum beats. The gunfire and laser beam middle eight is exquisite. The song hits the stratosphere, then leaves promptly in the final outro, dancing into the heavens.

“New Love” leads off with a meditation and then turns, and turns, and turns, and turns, becoming a trance focusing on the title, joyous at the sound of the words.

“Hide” is very much a 2016 production. You rarely hear manipulation of digital musical components and traditional singer songwriter material gelling this well. The blend of synth melodies at the song’s end is like falling asleep and having 80s arcade dreams populate your dreams.

“Mouseman” says “everyone’s a bogeyman outside” but I like to pretend Aniqa is saying “everyone’s a pokemon outside.” But actually, this song is beautiful and the string staccato punctuation is glorious and the analog drumming adds depth to the song that emphasizes the personal touch present in the lyrics.

“She” is why this review starts with a Doors lyric. Such a gorgeous narrative — of intriguing content — has rarely been heard by this reviewer. The story involves a fallen god, cleaved from home, and enslaved. I don’t want to ruin the story for you, but Aniqa and James get the mournful tone just right on this one.

Wow, what a fun album. I’m going to be listening to it over and over, I’m sure. A good zoning out album to listen to, a good metaphysical pop recording, and a healthy collection of novel tones and cracklings. Check it out!

Top Track: “She”

Rating: Hunting call (Excellent) + *swoop*

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