Annie Anxiety - Soul Possession LP
An unmistakable voice in the art-punk community throughout the '80s, Annie Anxiety has been best known as freeform punk poet contributing vocals to the likes of Coil, The Wolfgang Press, and various Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound productions. Her roots harken further back to the nascent punk days when she fronted her band Annie and The Asexuals before she took off from New York to Germany around 1980. She never made it to Berlin. Instead, she found herself in England on the doorstep of Penny Rimbaud and was welcomed into the extended Crass family. Her first single was published through Crass' in-house label, informed less by anarcho-punk than by a dada approach to dub deconstruction through tape-loops and junkyard tribal percussion. Her voice – with a Nuyorican accent that sharpens aggressively upon the more strident consonants and purrs through the softer ones – boldly stands as a commanding presence even against the vitriolic bark of Steve Ignorant or the growled enunciation from David Tibet. She can be sensual, she can be schizoid, she can shriek, she can sing weirdo Dada cabaret songs.
Soul Possession is her debut LP from 1984, produced by Adrian Sherwood and published by Crass though their Corpus Christi imprint. A deliberate chimera of punk iconoclasm, deranged industrial dub experiments and brash American theatricality, the nevertheless album ascribes to a minimalist structure. In doing so, Anxiety's arrangements recall those of The Slits, The Pop Group, Danielle Dax's Pop-Eyes and early Vivien Goldman singles. At the same time, the stripped down rhythms lend plenty of space for Anxiety to take the reins. In all of her sneers, snarls and croons, Anxiety guides the loping, lurching songs down the rabbit-hole of her bizarrely psychosexual / Lynchian narratives. The lyrics pour out in semi-melodic song-speak, seeming to be snippets of a broader encyclopedia of personal madness. It all comes together into another bold fracturing of British punk into something astonishingly unclean and unkempt.