Ripe Vinyl #2
(Song Review by Ashraya Maria)
Though I discovered Novo Amor through an indie page on Instagram a few months ago, I began to explore their discography very recently. Anchor was something I stumbled upon, something which stuck. I found myself playing it over and over again, often half listening to lyrics I could barely decipher through Ali Lacey’s airy accented vocals and dreamy instrumentation.
I fell in love with Bon Iver and Novo Amor; Holocene and Anchor for the same reasons. Both songs took me to the rain and the earth and the things I held dear with their rhythmic, rippling acoustic guitar riffs. Electronic overtones and soft percussion build into the song as the vocals grow stronger, yet muted, leaving an almost euphoric after effect. The lyrics are mildly melancholic and immensely poetic.
The music video produced by Storm and Shelter adds to the enchantment with its sun-kissed, low contrast visuals. Filmed in a beach at Cornwall, the video features a fisherman on a boat who finds a woman floating on the surface of the sea. He rescues her, covers her with his coat and comforts her as she wails. He takes her home and she begins to grow fond of him. She tries to find contentment on land, but her longing for the sea is too powerful. One day the fisherman comes back to see her lying miserable and unconscious. He carries her to the sea in his arms.
The story is inspired by the Norse legend of the Selkie. Selkies are mythical creatures; seals who are said to shed their skin and take human form on land. If a female Selkie loses her seal skin, she cannot go back to the sea. She is then bound to marry the man who stole her skin. Her short-lived domestic joys are overshadowed by their longing for the sea. If and when she finds her skin, she cannot resist but return to the sea, abandoning her terrestrial family, never to come back.
To me, Anchor is more than a song. It is a place. What makes it truly remarkable is the wonderful acoustic balance where every immersive element leaves space for the other. The music is strangely comforting, perfect to fall asleep or wake up to. The lyrics confront the complexities of loving and letting go; resonating a deep desperate desire to make things work, even if they are not necessarily meant to be. While an anchor can be a lifesaver and a symbol of shelter, it can also prevent an eager ship from setting sail and dispel the force of the ocean. Anchor is as much about standing firm against a tide as it is about surrendering wilfully to the unfamiliar laws of the sea. Anchor attempts to confront the difficulties that arise from wanting different things. It does so tenderly.
Ripe Vinyl is a series of song reviews that will be published every two weeks, spanning across genres. You can contribute too. Write to art9teen@if you would like to give this a shot.