in|FLUX, with all its arresting typography, shows Anna B Savage much more assertive in her convictions, both lyrical and musical. The flux referred to seems to be mostly external, an acknowledgement that the world is gone to the dogs, but she herself is finding confidence, solace and joy. All of this comes through beautifully on this quietly experimental album.
It begins, as all records should, with an exorcism of sorts on The Ghost. “Stop haunting me / pleeeeeeeease / just leave me be” Savage repeats as the percussive current builds in intensity, over a soft bed of woodwinds, eventually changing that final line to “just set me free.” It’s dramatic, but seems to do the trick as the rest of the album sails on much smoother waters.
There are still occasional moments where Laura Marling comparisons feel apt despite their laziness (the straightforward Touch Me or the muted warble of I Can Hear the Birds Now), but Savage’s penchant for a jazzy inflection or trip-hop beat is more reminiscent of another rising Londoner, Nilüfer Yanya. Say My Name features some raw, piercing sax trills as the “wind howls” while Hungry subverts its basic, strummed opening with an unexpected drum machine.
The title track is the true emotional core of the album, summing up its key message: “I want to be alone / I’m happy on my own.” It’s a recurring theme (see also: embracing indecision, a la Feet of Clay), but it’s delivered with big-beat electronica vibes and the confidence of ANOHNI-era Hercules and Love Affair. There’s even a wild cackled yelp thrown in for good measure.
The anxieties and uncertainties have by no means disappeared, and Savage seems to accept the world’s capricious nature and grey areas, but this time they aren’t so overwhelming. “If this is all that there is / I think I’m gonna be fine…” she muses during closing song, The Orange. It’s a message of subtle, personal resilience that coheres with the album’s wider themes. Things may still be in flux, but Savage has crafted a brilliant set of tunes to see you through.