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Anathema - The Optimist album review

Album Review

Once it was A Fine Day To Exit. Now it seems an even lovelier day to be welcomed back in, as Anathema shake off the past and return with a spring in their step

There is a moment on Back To The Start, the epic 11-minute closing track on The Optimist, all grandiose vocals and sweeping, Hey Jude-like strings so stridently catchy you feel like they could go on forever, that Anathema really drop the bomb. Instead of carrying on in gloriously uplifting style, about halfway through the sound devolves into a disturbing miasma of noises, voices and what seems like backwards masking, followed by several minutes of silence before you’re left with the sound of a jaunty John Douglas home demo recording, his daughter and pet budgie echoing in the background before a climactic ‘Tara’ brings things to a sudden halt. And suddenly you wonder if the little buggers haven’t played you from the start.

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