Debuting with a 5-track EP, ANU make a bold move with a grand and powerful delivery throughout the EP. Showing that a man and a piano can be all it takes to make beautiful music.
Starting off with the first track, Windswept, we have a long and gentle piano-dominated ballad. With nothing but a piano and some vocals that don’t enter until the second half of the five-minute track, ANU makes quite the impression. The piano tune is a low tempo, and gentle delivery in this track, giving a sombre and intense delivery. Coupled with a vocal performance that reflects the gentle intensity perfectly.
The Path is the next track, and by moving up into a higher key, it moves into a much more gentle and lullaby style of song. ANU really gets to show their vocal prowess, hitting and holding some surprisingly high notes whilst reciting some complex piano tracks. Whilst the vocals take a front seat this time, the piano now takes a backseat and delivers a consistent and repeated performance instead.
The title track, In This Heart, immediately differentiates itself. By adding in cello’s and other string arrangements, there is an instant difference shown noticeable. The grandiosity is stepped up to eleven when compared to Windswept and The Path. By adding in the strings, there is an air of tragedy, growth and raising of the stakes added. Tragedy due to the nature of the song and it’s meaning that’s expressed through lyrics. Growth more because of how much it sets itself apart from the previous tracks, and the same goes for the raising of the stakes. The closing moments add in a much more dreamlike stinger, using a more electronic feel, only briefly, but it’s there.
Death Lullaby, is the shortest and most subdued track on the EP. Immediately from the title, it’s clear as to what the song is describing. Despite the dark subject matter, Death Lullaby is still a lullaby, gently cradling the listener. It’s a much more hopeful song than it first gives off, with both a mixture tragedy and hopefulness given off. Moving back to the piano and vocal only arrangement, it’s much more subdued and simple.
The final track, Forever, sticks with the this gentleness, picking up directly where Death Lullaby leaves off. It’s the longest track this time, and definitely stretches it’s legs before getting into things, meandering steadily through its runtime with metaphors and simple key arrangements to start.
As one final surprise, ANU breaks genres in a seamless manner, transitioning to an electronic dance track with an incredible grace that is actually quite shocking upon a first listen. It’s a choice that subverts note just the song itself, but the EP as a whole. Moving from the classical style to a modern dance music template. It’s a fantastic way to close out the EP.
Overall, In This Heart, is a bold statement, releasing an EP that is dominated by a simple piano and singer arrangement, but an arrangement that is not worried about breaking. Whilst each song is beautiful within its own right, In This Heart and Forever are naturally standout tracks, purely for breaking the formula out of the blue and making that work. They become the standout tracks purely down to this fact, but also push the fact that they’re the most important tracks present. In This Heart is a fantastic EP for anyone who is looking, not just for classical music, but something a bit more chill and lo-fi.