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The Optimist comes from a strange new evolution from the safe, comforting Anathema we’ve grown to know over the years. It follows 2014’s Distant Satellites, a record which hinted the path the Liverpool-based band would pursue on their next effort. On The Optimist, Anathema have adapted a sound darker than their previous work to highlight a fundamental shift — a sound that’s aggressive even when compared to the group’s early efforts.
Reminiscence is definitely strong here, however. Melodies are proud and distinctive in a way they weren’t at any point on Distant Satellites — a component particularly true of the vocals of Cavanagh brothers and Lee Douglas.