Anneke Van Giersbergen – The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest (Inside Out Music / Sony)

  Van Muylem    19 maart 2021

The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest is Anneke van Giersbergen’s 23rd career album and was released on February 26, 2021. Lyrically, and musically, the award-winning Dutch artist lays her soul bare with the most evocative record of her career – captivating song-stories told with acoustic guitars, strings, horns, percussion, and Anneke's hypnotic vocal harmonies. The 11-track record has all the intimacy of Anneke serenading an audience of one, combined with surprising departures into swampier, foot-stomping grooves. It proves, once again, that the singer and songwriter defies being pigeonholed by any genre.

So far the nice promo talk from the record company, let’s focus on the music: step by step!

Agape is the first track and starts with some humming and an acoustic guitar. Once Anneke starts to sing you hear a crystal clear voice: fragile and soft. You’ll also hear some strings. The end sounds like an angel fading out, guided by some strings. Hurricane has a higher tempo whilst Anneke’s voice sounds like doubled. There is also an important role for the percussion. I even hear a trumpet in it. My Promise has a Spanish touch withing the acoustic guitar whilst the vocals comes closer to the softer side of her previous work with The Gathering. The strings gives it a melancholic touch. To me it’s one of the best songs on the album. You can feel she puts her heart in it, just as all her feelings. At some point I think I even hear some backings. I Saw A Car is a classic clap in your hands song, whilst sitting next to a campfire. The Soul Knows sounds warmer and goes deeper with the vocals and yet manages to sound fragile. I also adore the passages where her voices go a bit higher. It’s a pearl! The End sounds like sung with a broken heart and o so fragile. The end of a relationship sung by a nightingale. The strings underline the bluesy and melancholic feel. Keep It Simple has a slice of gospel in it, with the right positive vibe and a real sing-a-long moment. Lo And Behold has a lot of help from the percussion and almost asks for clapping hands, whilst Anneke is singing hi and low. Just magistral! Losing You sounds like written off the steam after a broken heart followed by a broken relationship and missing all the good times spent together. It’s a real tearjerker and touches you very deep and hard. Survive goes into a Spanish drive, with a festive feel. The song sounds like finally getting out of the dark tunnel and start dancing in the bright sun! It’s fresh start for a brand new life, without any ballast from the past. Love You Like I Love You sounds very romantic, guided by the strings and the sweet voice. It feels like a happy end, but yet you might shed a tear.

Well, it was a nice trip into a very personal story, with tears and love. Soft, fragile and clearly demonstrating Annekes great vocal powers next to her fragile side. TOP!