Ana Never creates one of the most essential post-rock albums of the year. We will never forget the moment we have received the recording and start listening to it. When we heard the whole album, we knew how lucky we were. "We have listened to one of the greatest post-rock album of all the times."
On their new album "Small Years", Ana Never creates exciting and sensual atmosphere and waves of sounds in a lonely planet. We are landing this planet with 26 minutes and 34 seconds long track "Future Wife" where droning guitars slowly runs to climax. The special guest, Tijana Stankovic on violins has made a great contribution to the album and the violin lines of "Future Wife" make the song wear wings accordingly to to quietly plucked guitar notes and drum rolls. We continue traveling with "Half Way" which is the shortest track of the record. We find a coherent dark story here driven by piano / broken hearted guitars. The third track; "Gorgeous One" brings us to the most peaceful areas on this planet, there are lots of things picture here in the 16:14 run time. The last track To Live For is the longest track of the album which brings an energetic and dark conclusion to the album. It's not safe enough to listen while driving because the violent tornado may take you in, you should hide behind your inner shadows before it unfolds gently.
In short, we believe Ana Never has crafted a masterpiece in their four track, 75 mintues 34 seconds long album. Let's make reference to Joy Division here: They share a dream, no post-rock fan can step outside.
A Closer Listen / Zachary Corsa
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Groan. Raise your hands if you are thoroughly tired of that cliche, especially in the context of another music review. It’s one of the old fallbacks of our net-dwelling kind, along with unfortunate phrases like transitional album, failed experiment, back to basics and sophomore slump. Still, there’s times when the maxim is painfully relevant, and though it’s often used as a kind of backhanded compliment (if complimentary at all), in the case of one Ana Never, a Serbian trad-post-rock combo, it’s definitely forward-handed and praising.
Ana Never love Godspeed. A lot. Like, a ‘carve their name in a tree’ or a ‘kiss their picture and put it under their pillow at night’ kind of love. These dudes probably came of age drawing ‘Faulty Schematics Of A Ruined Machine’ all over their textbook covers. And who am I to talk? God knows I’m one of their number, if anyone. Even a substandard fan-placating stopgap album can’t quell my love for those wacky Quebecians. There are far worse bands to imitate than the almighty Godspeed.
And the fact is, groundbreaking is an entirely overrated concept in music. While it’s necessary for a new and compelling sound to emerge every so often to keep things fresh and invigorating, many of us, in our unsnobby heart of hearts, love and crave the familiar, the expected, the reassuring rush of melody in a genre that reminds us of what drew us to those exotic climes in the first place. From the first notes of ‘Future Wife’, the first track on Ana Never’s Fluttery Records masterwork, Small Years, there’s that comfortable easing-in, that Oh, you again sigh of a great traditional post rock album. Nothing ground-breaking, nothing envelope-pushing, nothing even new, really…just solidly awesome, beautiful, compelling music.
Why post-rock is held to a harsher standard for not advancing its tropes than, say, garage rock or chillwave is beyond my comprehension. The witty, ironic hipster set’s loathing for such heart-on-sleeve sentimentality might have something to do with it, but really, those guys can go weep silently into their PBRs at the next Dirty Projectors show for all of me. I’ll take my bombastic, over-the-top, haunting, thrilling post-rock dirges over coy and self-aware irony any day, and this song touches all the right buttons; swelling layers of swarming, colorful guitar blurs, a wailing, plaintive violin, gently rolling martial drums…enter denouement, crushing noise, redemption. The usual. The song’s simplicity is deceptive; this is an epic work that shifts subtly and expands over its twenty-six necessary minutes, and satisfies on all cylinders. Why criticize the formula when the formula can be this damned good? As the piece grows progressively darker and noisier, the catharsis only triumphs.
“Half Way” is a ghostly little interlude, the ideal comedown to the massive tidal swell of what came before. Stirring little piano snippets over a bed of noise segue into the aptly-named “Gorgeous One”, another violin-led wander through heartbroken topographies that brings to mind Early Day Miners, Balmorhea and even Dirty Three before its eventual, blissfully inevitable climb skyward. Fact of the matter is, sometimes there’s great pleasure in the expectation of the usual crescendos in post rock.
The final piece, “To Die For”, is slightly mathier, with brisk drumming and American Football clean guitars rushing in tandem between the giant swells of noise. The album ends in a whisper, disintegrating into a half-life of ash and meltdown, resigned, sated. The thing about indie rock is that the Dirty Projectors can’t make a trip to the local Kroger feel like battling a horde of Vikings for control of the earth.
“Post rock is boring.” Shut up. “Post rock is predictable.” Shut up again. “All post rock is the same.” Meet a fist. Enough. When post-rock is this good, all the self-serious dialogue and nose-in-the-air judgment doesn’t matter. This album destroys.
Nine Hertz / Mike
Where do I start with this one? I've been mulling this over for quite some time now, as I listen to the album, swaying from one emotion to the next. Signed to Fluttery Records, Ana Never are unbelievably talented musicians from Serbia, who are starting to cause a ripple in the post-rock genre.
With Small Years, they have produced an album that is both atmospheric and moving, with a sound that will take you away on a very long journey. It will take time to get into this album and it's taken me a few listens to really appreciate it for what it is, but I can't help that feel that they have fallen into that post-rock trap that so often happens.
The first track, Future Wife, is just so beautifully composed and gentle, that it could very well become a soundtrack for many a TV show, as it glides effortlessly into your ears…..but why make it 26.34mins long? A shortened version would have had just the same response upon the listener. Around the 14 minute mark it really does come to life as they whip their instruments into a crescendo of stunning symmetry, all working together as one. But the song could have ended soon after this.
Unlike their fellow label mates, Arms of Tripoli, Ana Never just drag the songs out for far too long for my liking, and it's one of my pet hates with the genre as a whole. But it's a real shame, as musically, there is no denying that these guys are stunning. The way they combine their droning guitars with violins and near perfect drum rolls, is a thing to behold, and I can only imagine what it must be like to experience these guys live. A dark, smoky room, with a silent video projection accompanying the music would seem like a perfect companion to their haunting melodies.
The best song on the album is Half Way as it showcases the bands extreme talent in a shortened version and doesn't go on and on and on. Those that love post rock will see this album as a true masterpiece of the genre, and no doubt it will receive critical acclaim form the masses, and rightly so, as it is a work of sheer genius, crafted from the minds of some very talented musicians. For me, it's just too long…
Fade To Yelow
Fluttery Records seem to have a knack of signing artists who release great albums. This latest album release by Serbian based Ana Never is more than great. This is epic post-rock, 4 tracks on this album, titled ‘Small Years’ spans over 75 minutes. The shortest track, Half Way is nearly 5 minutes long while the longest track, To Live For, is just slightly over 28 minutes long. The opening track Future Wife has a slow entrance, and equally slow exit, at just over 26 minutes in length, there is no real hurry to go anywhere. the song builds, almost drone like, then transforms into this long form post-rock sound that is patiently building and building before ebbing away. The last song, ‘To Live For’, moves along at a slightly different pace to the other three tracks on this release. Ana Never do have a history of long form songs and it works perfectly, it certainly never feels that long when you are listening to it. So, Fluttery Records triumph again with this release and their seemingly endless stream of signed artists from all over the globe who produce music of the highest calibre.
The album title may be a bit of a joke as these are giant songs. Ana Never knows how to create epically long, grandiose pieces. With two pieces clocking in at almost a half hour these are giant slabs of Post-Rock akin to Godspeed You Black Emperor’s work. Classical instruments such as violins contribute to this particular feel. Here the songs soar. Everything takes a long time to build yet when it does it becomes overwhelming. Pieces get rather loud and extremely busy. More than a few times it feels less like a band and more like an entire village is performing.
Aggression comes out in the first piece ‘Future Wife’. The violinist does a particularly lovely job of rising above the guitar-generated din. Musicians work together to keep relatively calm for the first half. However about halfway through Ana Never gets extremely aggressive, beyond that of regular Post-Rock. It sounds almost metal-influenced, akin to Mogwai’s approach. ‘Gorgeous One’ lives up to its name and remains calm. Little in the way of aggressive distortion can be found on this one as it has a much more positive, upbeat approach. It is an infinitely hopeful piece. ‘To Live For’ sounds like an endurance test for the band. Ana Never avoids an outright long build up. From the beginning the song is on the verge of explosion and get moving relatively quickly. In less than two minutes it is in full swing. This is kept up for much of the duration of the song, only catching its breath about halfway through the piece.
‘Small Years’ is giant in every sense of the word: scope, size, and execution.
William Henry Prince
To Live For is twenty eight minutes of swelling, moody brilliance. Like the movement of the sea, it is deep, powerful and constantly shifting, propelled by elemental, emotional forces.
Ana Never have been variously described as ‘instrumental’, ‘post-rock’ and ‘prog’. All of these labels are loosely correct – their music has no vocals and doesn’t follow standard song structures, but, to me, it is so much more. I love the sheer monumental scale of it, the layering, the moods, filled with waves, with ebb and flow – it is ‘ocean rock’. These tracks are tidal.
Future Wife has some passages that are reminiscent of Brian Eno’s ambient work – particularly the second half of ‘Before And After Science’. The synths, guitars, bass and drums are complimented by violins, to create a wide, glassy, gently flowing river of sound. Spikes of feedback and distortion are driftwood, reaching out like hands from the depths beneath. Twenty six and a half minutes of sonic majesty.
Gorgeous One is propelled by drum brushes, guitar rhythms and deep bass swells. The synths add a cool retro feel – suggesting the instrumental side of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ album. The staccato guitar work builds with weeping keys, reaching the crest of a gigantic wave, before rolling out to quiet stillness again. The long, moaning violin and lone medieval drum beat are hypnotic, balanced by short, echoing piano stabs and the occasional, percussive sound of a violin bow tapping the strings.
Everything is great, overwhelming and complete. Indeed, everything points to the fact that post-rock veterans from Serbia, Ana Never band is currently in the climax of their creation.
Just like on their first album, but here are a lot more powerful, these Suboticians layer by layer build orgy tonal trifle grandiose and emotional discharge. In all four compositions Ana Never transport their sound filled with strong feelings. All are invited. No matter what you like long instrumental pieces or not. These are the sort of symphony, whose basis is a harmonious play two guitars, bass, drums and keyboards that is not in the eye countless times proclaimed the death of the genre, but also the darkness of this world. "Small Years" from start to finish infused with the indomitable positive, which is also reflected among other things, with the names of compositions, "Future Wife", "Half Way", "Georgeus One" and "To Live For." These guys have obviously found what something is worth for living, to rejoice and cry, so it also passed on his new album. Epic, monolithic, silent and hidden world in free fall, and momentum to new heights - Over twenty minutes long compositions such as introductory "Future Wife" and the final "To Live For." These Suboticians not care much for the time and have no fear that it might have turned out boring, but all add up safe and sound mosaics in which and everything is in its place.
Echoes And Dust
I’m sure I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but one of the things I love most about this job is occasionally a record will come out of (apparently) nowhere and completely sideswipe me. ‘Small Years’ by Ana Never is just such an album.
It arrived in my inbox a few weeks ago and alongside it came a press release claiming it to be “one of the most essential post-rock albums of the year”. Now, given the nature of E&D, I get sent a LOT of post rock and much of it is pleasant and much of it comes replete with similar claims and I generally take them with a pinch of salt, so I made note of it and stuck it on my listen to list.
Well, more fool me! By the time it had worked its way to the top of my vast and never diminishing pile I’d started to hear things from the darker corners of the Twitterverse saying that it really was rather special, and by all that is holy, they weren’t kidding.
It’s been a good year for post rock with luminaries MONO and Godspeed re-entering the fray, complemented by strong work from lesser know lights like Whale Fall, Rumour Cubes and sleepmakeswaves but let me tell you ladies and gentlemen, ‘Small Years’ is up there with the best of them.
Staying true to the genre, the record is made up of just four tracks, of which two weigh in at nearly half an hour a piece and these top and tail the album magnificently. Many post rock bands make overlong tracks because they feel they have to, because that’s the template, Ana Never do it because that’s how long it takes them to say what they have to say. At no point in these monster epics, and this is especially true of the phenomenal closer ‘To Live For’, does one find one’s attention wandering. In fact, you barely notice the length of the tracks, such is the enthralling nature of the music.
If I’m completely honest, there is not much that is new here. ‘Small Years’ takes a path that is well trod by Explosions In The Sky and MONO before them, but my oh my they do it so very, very well that it really doesn’t matter. From the glacial beauty of ‘Future Wife’ through the hugely appropriately named ‘Gorgeous One’ to the aforementioned ‘To Live For’ and its almost never ending crescendos, this is a work of rare quality.
If you are in any way a fan of the epic, orchestral end of instrumental rock then you need this album in your ears. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to investigate their back catalogue.
Stinkweeds "Best of 2012" Book / Jesse Srogoncik
Formulaic though it may be, instrumental post-rock still has the ability to create moments of transcendental bliss at the proper volume. This sophomore effort from Ana Never stands as one of the finest post-rock recordings of this or any other year. Truly magnificent: the elongated, creeping crescendo of Godspeed You Black Emporer, the melancholy of Japan's Mono, and Mogwai's gale force, hammer of the gods. There is an undeniable stasis befitting their Serbian origins; like Thomas Koner or Stars Of The Lid, a tectonic shift that seems capable of bending time. You'll want your clock set to Daylight Savings Time and a stereo that goes to eleven.