Thomas Feiner & Anywhen, "The Opiates – Revised"
The Opiates opens like a journey: on “The Siren Songs,” an anxious orchestra buoys the captivating baritone of singer Thomas Feiner. This sets the tone for an album that’s stunning in its beauty – and that once lay on the brink of disaster. Whilst the album began as a group effort, the band dissolved in the two years it took to complete – leaving Feiner to finish the project alone.
Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, Feiner was the frontman of Anywhen throughout the ‘90s, working with a core group of Mikael Andersson Tigerström on bass, Kalle Thorslund on drums, and Jan Sandahl on guitar. They released their debut LP, As We Know It, in 1993, and followed it with an eponymous album in 1996, produced by drummer and percussionist Michael Blair (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello).
Originally recorded in 2001, The Opiates was to be the band’s third full-length album, and its last. On the Scott Walker-like ballad “Dinah and the Beautiful Blue,” Feiner tests his lowest register over the brooding strings of the Warsaw Radio Symphony Orchestra. Atmospheric ballads blend seamlessly with more traditional rock songs such as “Mesmerene,” and the album’s romantic impulses temper its intricate arrangements - like the swirling woodwinds and delusional guitar of “Postcard,” or the gentle woodwinds on “Toy,” which echo Mark Hollis’ self-titled album.
This updated, re-packaged and newly mastered edition of The Opiates includes two of Feiner’s more recent songs: “Yonderhead,” and “For Now,” which was also featured in the German film ‘Love in Thoughts’. For many this will be the first they have heard of Feiner, and it comes several years after Sylvian first heard the album, which he regards as a lost classic since it never came out in many territories.
Sylvian recalls, “The dark, brooding, romantic nature of the material and, in particular, the emotional gravity of Thomas' voice, came as something of a surprise to me as it was quite out of keeping with my listening habits of the time but I couldn't help but be drawn into its widescreen, colour-drained, soundscapes.”
Presented as ever in a beautiful digipak featuring exquisite artwork (with a cover photo of Jean Cocteau taken by Cecil Beaton), and designed by Chris Bigg.
Released on 16th June 2008 on Samadhisound.