An Anti-Folktale

One musician pounds a giant bass drum (retrieved from the dumpster) in syncopation, as two others stomp and clap with careful aggression. A deck of cards serves as another member’s instrument, while others put down their horns to play socket wrenches. Listen closely and you’ll hear the harmonious echo of a glockenspiel in the midst of the crescendo of sonic layers. Audience members in this Baltimore club sway rhythmically or shake their heads vigorously. The band Anathallo—whose name comes from the Greek word for “rebirth”—has taken the stage, and for a moment everyone in the room is lost in the joy of creativity.

Known for their wildly enthusiastic performances, this seven-member group from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, recently unveiled its first full-length disc, Floating World, after several self-released EPs. It’s the first to effectively convey the theatricality and emotion of the group’s live shows, which at times are serenely orchestral and at others resemble a punk-rock marching band. Floating World is built around a Japanese folk tale, “Hanasakajijii,” about a dog that is killed and rises from death. Thematically steeped in violence and light, greed and grace, the CD is fertile ground for meditation on practicing resurrection.

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Sojourners Magazine August 2006
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