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Anathema: "We don’t write about politics. Our stuff is a personal story"

Usually when a band say they’re “up there with the best” it’s arrogance. This band might have a right to say it

Vincent Cavanagh is in a confident mood. “We’re in the top five bands in this country,” says Anathema’s vocalist and guitarist. “There’s loads of good bands in Britain, and I think we’re right up there with the best of them. Not just in any sub-genre, just in fucking music in general.”

His words aren’t just empty bravado. The Liverpool band’s journey from doom-metal troglodytes to musically and emotionally expansive Floydian frontiersmen is one of rock’s most unlikely yet welcome evolutions. Their eleventh album, The Optimist, is a sequel of sorts to 2001’s A Fine Day To Exit, which dealt with the last moments of a man on the verge of suicide.

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