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Anuk Schmelcher – Can You Hear The River Review

A self assured debut for alt-folk lovers.

What does Anuk Schmelcher sound like?

A mixture of New Zealand folk-rock and floaty organ sensibilities.

The review of Anuk Schmelcher – Can You Hear The River

Languages aren’t the only thing being mixed up in Anuk Schmelcher’s debut EP. The Swiss singer-songwriter, who is happy to sing in German and English, also blurs the line between soothing and catharsis as she weaves a quiet power in her music. Anuk announces herself onto the music scene as an artist whose delicate approach to songwriting and audio tonality shines through.

photo of Anuk Schmelcher
Anuk Schmelcher

Sonically Anuk’s music sits firmly in the alt-folk world. We have muted muffled drums, an airy guitar and synth organ giving us an emotionally charged setting for ‘Another Wave’. Whilst the music reminds me of New Zealand alt-folk, that’s in part down to Anuk’s vocals. She can perfectly channel an undercurrent of tension and melodic desperation with a hazy lethargy. Anuk sounds slightly pissed off, slightly over it but with a dash of punkish attitude too. This rough and raw approach is extended to her backing vocals which often sound taut and alarmist. When you’ve got that tension in the background of otherwise melodic and swimmy folk rock, it adds a twist to the mix. There’s an angular depth that the two sides give and that carries on across most of the release.

Guitars lead the way through the crispy alt-rock ‘River’s Hand’ and anthemic ‘Power’. The former reminds me of what would happen if laura Veirs wanted a grubbier sound. The latter is a song you’d have had on repeat circa 1998 on MTV and the chorus riff and vocal delivery will get stuck in your head for all the right reasons. Elsewhere it is the clever use of tempo and piano time signatures that make ‘ Unconscious Existence’ stand out. The track starts off as a silky smooth gospel organ-backed RnB ballad piece. Over its run time, it unravels from tender sensitivity into a louder and faster track as the drums start to smash and the piano moves from smooth chords to arpeggio trickles. Organs are a large character on the EP and a synth organ leads the alt Sade sensuality of ‘Baby morn chunts cho regne’. It’s sonically different to everything else on the EP but tonally it’s part of the family.

Anuk showcases her songwriting prowess on this EP and anyone looking for alt-folk rock with a penchant for organ synths will adore this release. There is a peak mid-90s alternative nostalgia hidden in the production and Anuk’s vibe that I can tap into easily. Anuk Schmelcher oozes confidence in her craft and it shows in each song. This is an excellent debut to announce herself to the world.

Recommended track: Another Wave

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Anuk Schmelcher - Can You Hear The River



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