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OUT OF THE ASHES

IT’S BEEN SIX LONG YEARS SINCE ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS RELEASED THEIR LAST ALBUM, AND NOW THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS ANTONY IS BACK, REBORN AS ANOHNI AND WITH A DEBUT SOLO ALBUM THAT’S NOT AFRAID TO ASK THE BIG QUESTIONS

Fresh from another Mercury nomination for her debut album Hopelessness – this time as a solo artist (and publicly as a woman) – Anohni has craft ed a record that fizzes with anger yet sounds like the kind of lush pop record you want to get up and dance to.

In ‘Drone Bomb Me’ she sings from the perspective of a young Afghan girl, begging for death aft er her family is killed by a bomb, and in ‘4 Degrees’ she sardonically longs to see the animals burn, the fish go belly up in the sea. Heavy themes for a pop dance record. “It was a much more sly approach than I’d ever employed before,” Anohni explains.

When you listen to the album, one thing is clear: Anohni is mad as hell. She’s mad at Obama for his hypocritical bombing of innocents, she’s mad that society is still full of inequality, and she’s especially pissed about our changing climate and our leaders’ unwillingness to do anything significant about it. As debut albums go, it’s brave, it’s complicated and it’s revolutionary.

Despite the recent name change, Anohni has identified as transgender since childhood. And any fans of her earlier music will be familiar with her themes of identity, femininity and vulnerability. “I’ve never really had the courage to ask people to address me in the feminine,” she says. But now, as Anohni, that courage has found a voice and she’s channelling it in a unique way to address some of the biggest crises facing humanity right now.

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