Aan is short for ‘Amor Ad Nauseam’. As well as the band name, there’s a dizzying sense to the Portland outfit’s new album, Losing My Shadow. The natural capacity for logic feels pushed to the limit across these nine tracks. We can break down meanings but meanings don’t mean anything when an emotive truth is key – and that’s what appears to interest songwriter Bud Wilson more than anything. What’s the point in understanding something if we can’t feel it?
Opening track ‘Cause and Effect’ lays open the paradox of everything that will follow. Conditions over here give rise to conditions over there. We can’t have one thing without another. The things we love cast shadows onto the things that we don’t love. The ironic aspiration of Losing My Shadow is pegged out here. The pursuit feels important, perhaps more important than the capturing of anything.
There’s a sense of a more personal expression in these sequence. Apparently Wilson locked himself away in studio with producer Cameron Spies. The results are songs that are singularly focused on the essence of subject and expression. Moments like ‘Hurts to be Alone’ – which is served on a strange bed of distant-detuned-radio chatter – offers a portrait of the process. “It’s December, man I feel like I’m fading out. it’s not the way I want to be. It’s just the way that I’m feeling. I don’t want to be alone. It hurts to be alone.”
Previous Aan releases helped to develop the tone that we hear here, but it’s on Losing My Shadow that Wilson appears to refined the voice, or at least found a new depth of courage to commit entirely to the oddness of his own vision.
There’s an absurdism that’s celebrated here. The desire to drop an ego is a desire informed entirely by ego. Angular guitars pull from all directions on the title track as Wilson sings, “I challenge myself to make a change.” and the sense of direction is uncertain, but the desire to travel is felt, and it’s utterly convincing.
For all the oddness, and abstracted sounds that echo through this album there’s a very personable appeal. Who hasn’t felt this way; craving simplicity, celebrating the naive; scared to assert the inner voice. “Sunlight slips through my fingers, Your love never lingers long enough for me to say what I feel. Your passion is never-lasting, Seems like we always fucking fight till you runaway.” Wilson is singing to another, but he may as well be singing to himself. How we let ourselves and each other down when trapped in the commodification of these affections. It’s great stuff.
HURRY – BUY – AAN MUSIC