Annelotte de Graaf – a.k.a Amber Arcades – has two law degrees and is experienced in assisting war crime tribunals. But you probably wouldn’t believe it after listening to her dreamlike and enchanting new EP, Cannonball.
It is a journey of two halves, in which songs made to soundtrack summer road trips and adolescent adventures, juxtapose those that delve deep into the soul and deliver emotional depth. It’s a trait reminiscent of Bat for Lashes and Florence and the Machine.
The EP’s opener, ‘Which Will’ – a reworked rendition of Nick Drake’s 1972 track – sees de Graaf lend her trademark, hazy style to a Band of Horses-esque production. It’s a combination that instantly entices the listener with what is a unique and beautiful concoction of genres.
Fittingly, a drumstick count-in precedes the hustle and bustle of indie rock track, ‘It Changes’ – a track in which de Graaf’s soothing voice works surprisingly well when draped upon jagged guitars.
‘Wouldn’t Even Know’ – featuring Bill Ryder-Jones – seamlessly follows and acts as a slow and thoughtful after-burn led by beguiling vocals and lyrical charm. ‘Can’t Say That I Tried’ instantly harks back to Mystery Jets’ debut album Making Dens, and its inclusion of orchestral sounds acts as further testament to how diverse this EP is.
Closing the EP in a somewhat underwhelming fashion, the title track is perhaps the one and only weak link. But thankfully it doesn’t do enough wrong to diminish what is otherwise an impressive, yet delicate combination of hypnotic vocals, dreamlike percussion and nostalgic guitars, in which Amber Arcades has been able to truly flourish.
WORDS ROBYN O’MAHONY
FEATURED PHOTO BY NICK HELDERMAN