Annie - Anniemal

If one album looked to challenge MIA's "Arular" it was Annie's "Anniemal", unfortunately it looks set to be filling a bargain basement somewhere near you soon. It doesn't detract from the fact that it's one of those classic modern pop records that you could file alongside Gwen Stefani's "LAMB" or Girls Aloud "What Will The Neighbours Say". When Annie's biog suggests "Come in Kylie, your time is up" you can't help the feeling that Radio 1 and commercial stations would be giving a lot more support to this record if it was released by Kylie or Rachel Stephens, safe artists with no story or character.

"Anniemal" was an album that was born out of the personal tragedy when her boyfriend and producer Tore Andreas Kroknes died of a heart attack. After walking away from music at the time she returned defiantly realizing it would be pointless to retreat from what she loved. Hooking up with Timo Kaukolampi of the ingeniously titled OPL:B*stards who produced much of the album and brought in Richard X and Royksopp to complete it.

You've already heard the infectious "Chewing Gum" and the rest of the album is just as glorious. "Me Plus One" with it's funky disco come hip hop, "Heartbeat" with it's melancholy electronic Motown, the titles tracks playful nursery rhyme and the Shakatak sampling "No Easy Love" all make for a refreshingly eclectic pop album. "The Greatest Hit" makes a reappearance and is the only track featuring former beau Tore Kroknes. The final two tracks on the album "Come Together" and "My Best Friend" are stark icy tracks reminiscent of St Etienne's recent material.

This is one album that deserves to be heard by the masses, but like all great pop acts of recent years will probably be treasured by the few.

Alex McCann

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