Libido Wins - Anhedonia

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It’s always hard to review records made by friends. If you like it, one might think you’re prejudiced and it’s natural to commend the music, but obviously it’s also difficult to criticize it, because you could grieve a pal. And it’s exactly this kind of dilemma I’m in when we talk about Anhedonia, the comeback long player of the four-headed Hungarian screamo collective, Libido Wins. Yet, I will try to write a few lines about the album and of course I will try to stay objective.

Several months back, I got informed about the end of the hiatus of Libido Wins and on top of that, they announced to release new music. And so it happened that I received the first audio samples of the album in last year’s December. After a live recording and a few song snippets here and there, things had finally reached the point where I could hear the first whole song from their new album in form of Nocturnal Diary Sessions - Part 1 and 2 - at the beginning of the current year. Back then, the song wasn’t divided in two resp. three parts yet and it turned out to be the most epic and poetic stuff, the band had ever done before. But first things first:

Gentle guitar sounds flattering your ears and everything seems to be nice and easy, as the opening track of the album starts cautious and mellow. But then, the rhythm section drops in and you get a slight feeling, where this record may lead to. Bass and drums create a murky and apprehensive atmosphere, while anxiety is slowly spreading. At the latest, when Adam, the vocalist of the band, whispers “what are we without words and their passion?” the song starts building up. The whispers are getting louder until his voice breaks and after five years of silence the pen is finally set to paper to write down the band’s emotional story of heartache and pain.

“Something I’ve done for a while after sleeping, before the sun is up, always without a grimace or a smile it’s about honesty or at least I thought so but I haven’t composed anything for 2 years. Anyway, yesterday I wrote a poem that’s how we finally arrive here.”

This flawless introduction leads us to ‘The Stendhal Syndrome Of Us Wasting Away’, the first of three well-known songs from the band's split with their Hungarian compatriots, Hanøi. Originally recorded five years ago, the song features guest vocals of the talented singer-song-writer Piresian Beach. After all this time the remastering was much needed, as the songs sounds more polished, fitting perfectly in respect of lyrics and sound. Compared to the old takes, the vocals blend more harmoniously into the overall composition, sounding much better than before.

“Sleeplike within self-made hells and heavens, cursed beds holding damned kids and their crying lovers. Read your poems to the wall of your condemned rooms or sweep them away if those lines mean anything to you.”

The instrumental interlude ‘Sempiternal Timelapses’ paves the way for ‘The Crush Of The Century’, which also can be found on the recently published fourth edition of the Miss The Stars screamo sampler (listen here). The song starts with a quote from the movie Total Eclipse. Shortly after Arthur Rimbaud calls the existence of love into question, the song starts with some of the most passionate vocals you can imagine. Shredding guitars and vertical drumming create the perfect musical background for this outstanding blend of screamo and post-hardcore.

“We’re slowly ‘dancing’, skin against skin. Just a flash: can this be an actual sin? Young bodies keep moving to the beat of ‘we lack the energy’ composed misery. Nostalgia, blood, sweat, noise and injury. It’s our distorted symphony.“

On to the final songs, the Nocturnal Diary Sessions, as already mentioned in the beginning of this write-up. Divided in three episodes, the songs could be considered as the beating heart of Anhedonia; the crucial point of the album. Almost, La Dispute-esque, the band tells a melancholic story about a boy, who struggles with self-doubt and self-inflected isolation. The teller illuminates the dark thoughts of the youthful protagonist, while the band’s instruments create an oppressive atmosphere.

“Yes, there's a harmony of giving up on everything you care about. He's the loneliest kid without any doubt. Lying to liars and falling for the fallen and in the end all the hearts are swollen. He finds faith in depressing ballads. All of those songs about taking his life sound so valid. So he keeps nodding to those beats and the tapping of his feet become trembles on the shaking ground. That and his whispering are his only sound.”

In the closing piano piece, the band proves a keen sense for the great moment. This beautiful song combines every doubtful and anxious feeling of its two forerunners, nonetheless spreading a slight breeze of hope and confidence. I’m absolutely sure, that there would not have been better way to close the album than this.

Recorded and mastered in Adam’s small flat, everything about this album seems to be close to perfection. The only thing you could criticize is the quality of the DIY recording, which can’t live up to the beauty of the nine songs. Anyway, Libido Wins is back and they did an absolutely fantastic job on this album, which might be the temporary highlight of their discography.


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