Anane – Ananesworld | Album Review

The term ‘easy-listening’ has a bad reputation. Which is a shame because it’s most apt to describe the second album by New York-based Cape Verdean lovely, Anane; simply titled Ananesworld. With the uncharacteristically sunny weather we’ve been enjoying here in the UK, the songstress and DJ’s sophomore project is the perfect accompaniment; undemanding and easy-on-the-ear.

That’s not ‘easy-listening’ in the vein of Bacharach-esque MOR standards, mind. On the contrary, Ananesworld – produced by the lady herself and hubbie, legendary producer/DJ Louie Vega is a celebration of Disco music in all its glorious incarnations with some Rock, Afro-beat, Latin, Reggae and Soul detours made along the way.

Whether it be the very Studio 54 ‘Standing in Line’, the synth-tastic dirty ’80s funk of ‘My Sexy Way’ (reminiscent of early-Prince) or four-to-the-floor soulful house numbers such as ‘Terra Longe’, the West African-influenced ‘Let’s Get High’ and ‘Bigger than Life’, there’s absolutely no excuse to have a less than enjoyable time listening to this album.

On tracks such as ‘Bem Ma Mi’ and the delightfully uplifting ‘One Dream’, Anane draws inspiration from the rhythm and horn arrangements of her Lusophone cousins in Brazil, very much evoking the spirit of Carnival in the process. On ‘Rock the Cradle’, a worthy Reggae-lite effort, Anane calls for the adult world to get its act together for the sake of ‘the little ones’.

Ananesworld’s tribute to disco culminates in her cover of Donna Summer’s ‘Love to Love You Baby’; a song for which this reviewer doesn’t normally have a lot of time. However Mr and Mrs Vega do a very creditable make-over, emphasising the funk and giving this version an edge on the others, arguably even the original. That’s not to say that all Anane’s attempts to remind us of the joys of Disco music are entirely successful; indeed some are borderline cheesy. The rock/pop tinged ‘Plastic People’ is perfectly listenable but in a guilty-pleasure kind of way and ‘Shake It’ sounds like something used in an aerobics class. That said, Ananesworld isn’t by-and-large a record that has you reaching for the skip button.

More’s the pity then that the constant presence of coquettish sighs and orgasmic ad-libs suggest Anane and co are really pushing the sex-kitten angle- a cynical move and quite unnecessary. All right, so she doesn’t have the vocal prowess of Chaka Khan or even Donna Summer but there’s enough artistic merit on show to indicate Anane doesn’t need to go down the ‘I’m-a-tease’ route.

The only other main drawback is that some of the mix and engineering on the record sounds a little off. At times the vocals hover over the production giving it more of a demo quality (there being exceptions such as the lush and far-too-short interlude ‘Reflections’). Maybe this was all part of the plan; a way of making the album more raw. Still, can’t help but wonder.

Nevertheless ‘Ananesworld’ has a consistency that helps it generally rise above these blips. It’s wide ranging appeal makes it one to consider for the Barbeque as well as the dance floor.

–Tola Ositelu

Ananesworld is out now via Nervous Records – click to buy.