A relative lack of excess can be pretty noticeable in modern music, no matter what genre you happen to be referencing, and thus, when an act like Heilung comes around with “Anoana,” it makes a lot of noise in the underground. Although I’m as much a fan of the insular qualities in indie rock and folk-pop as anyone else in the journalism world is, there’s something very special to be said about the minimalist qualities “Anoana” is built upon, and Heilung doesn’t mind highlighting the best parts of a simple sound at all.
The lead vocal in this mix is pretty fleeting in terms of its weight in the big picture, but I don’t think the singer needed as much of a boost behind the board as the instrumentation does. Truth be told, there’s already a lot of presence to these words just in the way they’re being sung to us, which eliminates the need for an external buffer that a lot of other artists would have been forced to rely upon. Heilung is a well-rounded act, but more importantly, they aren’t centering everything on one angle within their sound.
Tension is almost everywhere we look and listen in “Anoana,” and yet I’m hesitant to call it a pressure-driven performance. To me, Heilung is so good at developing balance in an arrangement that they can invite certain elements into their work that would otherwise go against the grain of the aesthetical premise (which is definitely minimalism in this particular piece). It’ll be interesting to see what the future brings this act, but right now they’re poised to make some very big waves anywhere they drop this attitude.
I’m really excited to hear an entire LP based around the artistic elements in “Anoana” in the near future, and even if it takes Heilung a little longer than their rivals to put together something complete and representative of their identities as a group, I think they need to avoid rushing what they’ve already got going for them in this single. The folk music culture of 2022 has been feeling increasingly tethered to what we saw some sixty years ago at the height of the second wave folk movement, and it’s in that spirit that we’re starting to see the cream rise to the top of the scene – with artists like Heilung ranking well above their peers almost exclusively on the strength of their experimental angle.