Anne Of The Wolves – Rainmaker (Independent)
Some group names are simply more enigmatic than others, and Anne Of The Wolves is a fine example. Fortunately, the Melbourne, Victoria quintet make music that’s almost as inscrutable and mysterious as their name suggests, and “Rainmaker” (their five-track debut EP) thrills and chills in equal measure. They combine dark folk tones, gypsy jazz, sultry blues and a reliably melancholic pop sensibility, which makes them wonderfully accessible. Names like Opal, Mazzy Star and All About Eve spring readily to mind, though Anne Of The Wolves raise the bar with ambitious instrumentation and their openness to less explored genres.
The group (Bek Chapman - voice, piano, ukulele / Nathaniel Poynter - clarinet, saxophone, tin whistle, flute / Andrew "Dr" Watson - electric guitar, violin / Hayley Jones-Buckley - double bass) / Matt Gibson - percussion) open their account with the ethereal “See Mary Run”. Chapman’s vocal possesses a purity that will remind older acid-folk fans of Marianne Segal or the Mellow Candle girls. The title track moves to a European jazz beat, with Poynter’s clarinet emphasizing Chapman’s flight, and Jones-Buckley’s agile bass leading the dance. The carnival-esque “Blue & Black” inhabits the same spaces as Tom Waits’ “Swordfishtrombones” and “Rain Dogs” records – with desperately spooky backing vocals, and an episodic arrangement.