Anji is a female-fronted alternative rock band lead by award-winning songwriter Angela Hutchins. The project’s latest EP “Dark” premiered at The Masquerade in Atlanta on June 7th. Angela who wrote all the songs, performed the vocals and played rhythm guitar on the recording has won awards as a solo act (Columbus Songwriter Showcase, Griff Parrish Songwriting Award) and was signed to Kaizen Records in the Fall of 2017. Her first single – “Titanic” – was released during January, while the “Dark” EP dropped worldwide digitally via online platforms, including Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and more on June 7th. Where should I start with this EP? First of all I think that it is an amazing step forward in Angela’s career. While her other works are also stunning in production and performance, and showed the capabilities of Angela and her band to make great music, this recording, not only displays her best efforts in composing and recording but also in approaching herself into atmospheric masterpieces that in a not too distant future will totally set her apart.
There’s no doubt she’s a talented, gifted woman in the indie music business and her intentions through every song here on “Dark” go from being honest, loud, catchy and extremely vulnerable. Angela has clearly stated this recording comes from some of the darkest moments of her life – a broken relationship, deep depression, extreme weight loss and even a broken rib.
She shut down her spirit and locked herself out of life…but alone in the dark, is where you find your demons, and the inner strength to defeat them. It’s a place of rebirth, of where something, comes out of nothing. And that’s from where Angela Hutchins rose like a phoenix, to bounce back into the light with all her newfound strengths.
The EP, “Dark”, is her personal story, and its songs encapsulates some of her experiences, as well as her aspirations and state of being. The title track kicks off this emotional roller-coaster, dealing with unrequited love on a deeper emotional level rather than just its physical aspects.
A gentle build of jangling guitars, a slow beating drum, and Angela’s poignant voice will transport you through the emotional nuances of this song. It’s clear from this track alone that Angela has reached a new level of eloquence in her writing, making her a more complete artist than ever. It’s also why “Dark” is her strongest recording to date.
And just in case you’re thinking that she’s sitting in a corner moping somewhere, desperately carrying the malevolence of the world on her shoulder, don’t. “Happy” screams out her resilience and resolve. No matter if you hate her, she’s going to go ahead and be happy anyway. This is a crunchy up-tempo, alternative song, bathed in over-driven guitars, and Anji’s performance energy.
“Out Loud” maintains the raw rocking mood, with an angsty indie anthem, complete with rich backing vocals and punchy chants. When everything comes together like this – in other words, when Angela’s powerful singing, the group’s bold instrumentation, and the lyrical impact all cohere – it’s apparent Anji should be among this year’s most deserving indie up comers.
“Storms” is another one of the high points of Angela’s songwriting career; a visceral tumble into the wreckage of loss, it’s an exceedingly coherent listen. The whole thing is permeated by anguish and restlessness, and awash with spacious, lush, and finely arranged instrumentation for a blockbuster sound.
Anji seems preemptively committed to making big music on this track. “Toska” arrives in complete contrast to the previous track, with a gently picked guitar and Angela’s intimate, almost conversational voice, marks a distinguished degree of yearning. Turning down the instrumentation certainly gives a heightened vulnerability to the lyrics of this song.
“Dark” is a cathartic, strikingly personal diary set to music. There’s a hushed sadness at its core, but it’s underscored by prevailing optimism and the desire to get back up, no matter how severe the damage of being hit by the devastating force of a broken heart, spirit or body may be. Anji’s soul-bearing is so satisfying you forget you desired anything else from music.