When Portland four-piece Anne released its debut, Dream Punx, in 2011, few could resist throwing the album's airy, dark pop in with My Bloody Valentine and the rest of the shoegaze pack. And while that genre is as descriptive as any you could apply to the broad array of styles displayed on Dream Punx, it completely failed to see the direction Anne would head.
"We sold a decent amount of records," says frontman David Lindell, "but my personality is like, 'Wait till they hear me try to do this!' Having a full band makes it hard.â
Soon after 2012's split EP with Whirr, Anne the band became Anne the man. Now a solo artist, Lindell is trying his hand at a danceable brand of synth-driven darkwave. He approaches electronic music, which he admits is largely new to him, with the levelheadedness of an engineer.
"I've been working in production for friends' bands for a long time," he says. "I like stuff that's executed as well as it can be. The electronic stuff was still pretty fresh to me when I was writing it, so I was trying to figure out how to mix a different kind of music."
The Jerusalem EP was the first to break new ground. Samples bubble through the title track's bottom end, while synthetic drums echo through its catacombs. Lindell began experimenting with software synthesis. A favorite of his emulates the AlphaSyntauri, the first synth to take advantage the Apple II's hardware. He's still a mad scientist in a foreign laboratory, but the sound is far from amateurish.
By the time Pulling Chain was released earlier this month on Run for Cover Records, Lindell had mastered his new digital tools. "Terms" is not only his strongest vocal effort to date but shows he's allowed his melodic vocals to relax into their heavy, dark and driving shell. Stand back, remixers: "Terms" needs little enhancement to get dance floors moving.
Lindell's trajectory is as solid as it's ever been—or so it seems. Asked about his recording plans for 2014, he continues to want to challenge himself. "I have whatever I need to make whatever I want," he says. "It's just up to me to do it."
SEE IT: Anne plays Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., with Interiors, Magic Fades and Quarry, on Sunday, March 30. 8 pm. $5. 21+.