Rescuing what threatened to become a “lost album” from oblivion, Samadhi Sound presents Thomas Feiner & Anywhen's The Opiates – Revised, an entrancing fifty-minute collection originally recorded in 2001 by the Gothenburg-born frontman and his Anywhen associates bassist Mikael Andersson Tigerström, drummer Kalle Thorslund, and guitarist Jan Sandahl. Over the course of the album's two-year production, the band dissolved, forcing Feiner to complete it alone, and when it was released, it wasn't made available en masse. All praise to David Sylvain, then, who, struck by the material's romantic character and Feiner's haunting voice, saw fit to re-issue the album, now supplemented by two recent songs.
The remarkable opener, “The Siren Songs,” begins with the grandiose swell of orchestral strings before the band's brooding attack and Feiner's wistful baritone enters. The song's spine-tingling impact really sets in with the advent of a soaring chorus that's reminiscent in its splendor of Richard Hawley and Morrissey. The equally beautiful meditation “Dinah & the Beautiful Blue” that follows dramatically departs from the epic style of the opener for something more intimate, with Feiner's gravelly delivery largely backed by strings alone (courtesy of the Warsaw Radio Symphony Orchestra). If “Scars and Glasses” makes the Hawley connection seem even stronger, the loping “Postcard” sometimes sounds like a distant cousin to Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen—at least until a disorienting episode of psychedelia occurs midway through. The recent additions, “Yonderhead” and “For Now,” the former a languorous confessional of epic sweep and the latter a smoky, late-night ballad, blend seamlessly with the original songs. The distant sound of a carousel haunts “Toy,” also arresting for the bassoon and accordion elements that dot its arrangement, while the equally yearning and dreamy “All That Numbs You” ends the album strongly. Here and elsewhere, Feiner's voice, particularly in its lower register, sounds a bit like Sylvain's own, making the album a natural addition to the Samadhi Sound catalogue . Like the label's previous releases, The Opiates – Revised leaves a lasting impression, from its provocative cover photo of an Opium pipe-smoking Jean Cocteau to the music itself.
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