Anna Meredith – ‘Fibs’
Moshi Moshi / MOSHILP95
White vinyl LP
ELECTRONIC SOUND REVIEW NOVEMBER 2019
The dictionary defines a “fib” as “a lie, typically an unimportant one”. Anna Meredith defines them as “nice friendly lies, little stories and constructions and daydreams and narratives that you make for yourself or you tell yourself”. What we have to add is we aren’t fibbing when we say that ‘FIBS’ is insanely brilliant.
While the new album from Meredith definitely answers the question “How do you follow-up your critically acclaimed debut album that bagged you a whole host of accolades including the Scottish Album Of The Year Award?”, it’s not the only thing she’s been up to in the three years since ‘Varmints’. Last year, she released ‘Anno’, her collaboration with the Scottish Ensemble, in which she combined Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’ with her own neoclassical compositions. She also featured in the First Night of the 2018 proms with ‘Five Telegrams’ and scored Bo Burnham’s coming-of-age flick ‘Eighth Grade’. Oh, and she got an MBE this year. All in a day’s work, eh?
Once it’s on, it’s hard not to listen to ‘FIBS’ the entire way through. It’s a chaotic (in a good way), maximalist adventure – like an aural theme park where you have to go on everything and then go back for more. Opener ‘Sawbones’ is more than enough to draw you in, galloping frantically in a swirl of building arpeggios and flurries of electronics. ‘Inhale Exhale’ is like the opening bars of ‘Born Slippy’ augmented with Meredith’s smooth vocals and penchant for eclecticism. The absolute standout is ‘Bump’, its playful synth stabs and striking brass like ‘The Imperial March’ for the circus.
‘FIBS’ never gets lost in its madness though, with slower outings like the soaring shudder of ‘Divining’, the mournful, slightly ominous cello-heavy ‘Moonmoons’ and the dreamy ‘Ribbons’ evening the pace. You’re soon thrown straight back into it though. ‘Limpet’ will shred you in half with its guitar-driven melody, while ‘Paramour’ is like a stampede of electronic textures running at you from a distance.
Right, time to put it on again from the beginning. Rarely is a record as imaginative, innovative and downright fun as ‘FIBS’. But this is Anna Meredith we’re talking about and after ‘Varmints’ this is no surprise. We’d be fibbing if we said we didn’t expect this to be riding high in our own Albums Of The Year countdown.