True, Sheik Anorak once started out as a noise project. With harsh guitars and pummeling drums Frank Garcia created a massive wall of sound. Yet, gradually, the project evolved, from noise over noise-rock towards indie rock and no wave. Today he's back with a new album, a very surprising one too. This simply is a splendid indie rock album, or 'lo-fi' if you prefer that tag. Mainly, it's a collection of experimental popsongs.
Opener 'Speaking Voice', and most of the other songs, feels quite experimental but is dressed as a bit of an innocent pop rock song. It immediately made me raise my eyebrows, not in disbelief but mainly in a 'wow, this is nice' kind of way. 'From A To Z' drives on steady drums, a repetitive guitar riffs and a delightful bunch of drones and soundscapes. 'S. Barigool' repeats that recipe but turns it into a free jazz track, or something like that.
It's hard to compare this music to other artists. Acts that come to mind include Caudal, White Stripes and even the surf rock of The Ventures. Yeah, that's indeed very far away from noise music. Hell, there's even a brilliant (half) ballad here, named 'Liar', raw, unpolished and repetitive, but very immersive and a pleasure to listen to. The whole album is an inspiring experience, which is exactly what I'm used to from Sheik Anorak.
So yeah, I'm glad that this act showed up in my inbox after almost seven years and I'm glad he seems to be stronger than ever. From harsh noise towards intelligent pop rock, this act has been through a lot of influences and genres but most of all he simply does whatever he wants and needs to grow as a musician. Check it out, unprejudiced, and you'll discover a world of possibilities.