Anshelle
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Anshelle

Bern, Bern, Switzerland | SELF

Bern, Bern, Switzerland | SELF
Band Pop Adult Contemporary

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"Review: Anshelle - Betty's Garden"

25/02/10
Anshelle isn't so much a band in transition as a band who continues to grow with each project they involve themselves in. Since breaking on the European scene in 2006, the Berne, Switzerland quintet has built a quiet yet impressive following, garnering significant airplay and chart success, even earning a JPF Award nomination in 2009. Anshelle's third album, Betty's Garden finds the band growing into a more organic sound without abandoning the quirky pop musicality that has drawn them such a following thus far. If Anshelle has lost their musical innocence on Betty's Garden, they certainly haven't lost their inherent sense of optimism. Betty's Garden finds the band navigating the murkier waters of adulthood without abandoning the youthful search for truth and beauty; all done against the backdrop of irresistible melodies and delicate Pop phrasing.

Anshelle opens with After The Fall, a hopeful tune that sprouts from a heavily layered Pop/Rock arrangement full of melodic overtones. After The Fall is a solid opener and likely single though not a chart burner. Crossroads maintains the full sound introduced on After The Fall in an otherwise innocuous tune. Vocalist Michele Bachmann has a Natalie Merchant thing going on; a full-voiced style that fits with the heavy pop Anshelle puts forth thus far. Turn On is filled with a positive message about not giving up on yourself or the world. It's a touching attempt, with a piano-driven chorus that is moderately catchy. Slightly Underdressed is an edgy rocker that captures the sort of social insecurity that runs prevalent through a society where rank ordering is based on social acceptance and style is a leading indicator. The song is very well written, capturing the angst of the moment perfectly.

Tree is a song about a confidante of stalwart nature. We all have a special place growing up, and returning home, and specifically to that place, brings a wealth of memories and often, comfort. Tree is a song about just such a place, where a tree is more than shade, but an old friend. It's a touching tribute. Building on the theme is Secret Garden; in which the narrator finds a refuge but this time to share. It's a decent Pop arrangement; melodic and fairly well-suited for light listening. Anshelle closes with Should Have Left Before, a belated eulogy for a relationship that's long outlived its purpose. The piano-driven ballad is full of heart-felt emotion but is a tough way to end of an album that's high in intentions and strong musically but lacking in enthusiasm.

Michele Bachmann has a unique and enjoyable voice that's instantly recognizable once you've heard it, and she and Anshelle deliver in an on-again, off-again fashion throughout Betty's Garden. At their best, Anshelle is an affable band, but as often as not they fail to connect with the listener on Betty's Garden. The delivery comes off as distant at times, but the real culprits are songs written from personal knowledge that doesn’t give listeners a leg up to understand and become part of the experience. This issue becomes less prevalent as the album progresses, suggesting that somewhere along the line something in the writing process clicked. Look for the next effort to be even better. - Wildy's World


"Anshelle - Betty's Garden"

01/30/10
Michèle Bachmann fronts Anshelle, who has a distinct style on this album. It's a passionate, heartfelt rock with great lyrics and melodies.

"Crossroads" reminds me of the brilliant, underrated Rainbirds, with Bachmann's voice beautiful and expressive to a driving beat. "Turn On" has a powerful message of holding on to hope no matter how hard it is. Anshelle gets to the point well. "Betty" is a lovely song with a poignant piano passage, and some of Bachmann's most beautiful singing. "Secret Garden" is another strong song, Bachmann's vocals set against an acoustic backing. The band works well in this setting too. Anshelle's new album really is a treasurer and they deserve a large audience.

Copyright © 2010 Anna Maria Stjärnell - Luna Kafé record review


"Anshelle - Rewind Please"

One of the fun things about writing a music Blog is the weird and wonderful material that finds its way to you. I'd never heard of the Swiss pop group Anshelle before unexpectedly receiving their latest album for review, so I wasn't sure what to expect. When I think of Swiss pop music, the first thing that comes to mind is DJ Bobo. I reasoned that I was probably in for a trashy pop explosion, possibly with some really awful rapping thrown in for good measure but I couldn't have been more wrong. I quickly discovered that Anshelle's album is a treasure trove of whimsical guitar-pop gems, which owes far more to Sharleen Spiteri of the Scottish band, Texas, than Switzerland's own superstar DJ. Here's my review:

One of the central themes of Anshelle's evocative, new album "Rewind Please" is the drawing of strength and solace from past events. "Rewind Please" almost plays like a musical photo album with each track capturing a memory or defining moment - some of them happy, others less so. There is genuine sense of whimsy and melancholy that gently colours and connects each song to the next. That might sound slightly overbearing but there is enough sunshine peaking through the clouds to prevent "Rewind Please" from ever becoming too depressing. Anshelle walk the fine line between quiet reflection and upbeat pop music with impressive skill.

"Rewind Please" opens with a declaration of intent. To put "Little Mountain" in context it helps to have some knowledge of the band's history. Prior to this album, Anshelle were signed to a major label and from all reports made bright and shiny dance/pop music. It seems the band fell through the cracks during a record company reshuffle and spent the next few years revising their sound and recording "Rewind Please" independently. "Little Mountain" is a musical mantra about persistence and following your passion. Lead singer, Michele Bachmann, sings "I can hear the voices of the raging crowd, while drums and bass are getting loud and if it is the last thing that I'm going to do, I'll be there and smile at you". Michele's "Little Mountain" is the stage and this woman is going nowhere. Anshelle subtly convey their message in one of the album's most instant and catchy pop anthems. "Little Mountain" will have you humming for days.

After the upbeat, jangling guitars of "Little Mountain", the focus of the music shifts from the present to the album's prevalent theme of past events with the gentle title track. The first thing that strikes me about "Rewind Please" is the quality of Michele's voice, which has a soulful quality reminiscent of Texas frontwoman Sharleen Spiteri or Mexico's hugely underrated Elan. It's a voice well equipped to convey the disorientation of realising that your path has irrevocably branched away from old friends and loved ones. The sweet melancholy of "Rewind Please" gives way to the straightforward pop sensibility of "Stereophonic Girlfriends", which injects the proceedings with a pleasant dose of irreverence. The detour from the album's exploration of the past is brief. "Hayfield" is another introspective number, revealing a yearning for the simplicity of childhood. The instrumentation is a delight, making "Hayfield" a worthy first single.

"Soulmate" is a refreshingly optimistic love song, which benefits from some beautiful guitar work and endearing lyrics. It makes an interesting companion piece to the next song, "Unperfect Woman", which is rather more grounded in reality. It's about time someone wrote a love song for the flawed and fucked up! "Unperfect Woman" also increases the tempo after a string of gentle numbers, which is a reminder that Anshelle can rock out when they feel so inclined. They obviously just don't feel like it very often.

"Bye Bye" and "Faith" are two of the album's least inspiring moments. They are perfectly enjoyable album tracks but retrace the previously covered ground of old friendships and break-ups without the charm of "Rewind Please" or "Hayfield". The dip in quality is rectified with the gorgeous "She Might Be", which, if I'm not mistaken, throws a slight hint of ska into the mix. In fact, the song would slot quite nicely into No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom" album with its staccato bass and percussion. I was sold with the first tambourine jangle! "She Might Be" is a cheeky little number which sees Michele meddling in her friend's lovelife. Any song which rhymes "wench" with "French" is surely some kind of masterpiece. The album closes with a duo of excellent songs, "I'm Alright" and "Taking Over Me". The former song is one of the album's most musically intricate and lyrically inspiring. "It's Alright" preaches the importance of keeping your chin up, while "Taking Over Me" is a haunting tune about giving in to your emotions. The evocative piano playing and unexpected organ cameo make "Taking Over Me" a fitting end to a memorable album.

"Rewind Please" expertly taps into the overwhelming sense of inertia that arises in - Pop Trash Addict [16.08.2007]


"Swiss Top September 07"

Erdiger Pop aus der Bundeshauptstadt

Anshelle, die Berner Band um Sängerin Michèle Bachmann verbindet auf ihrem zweiten Album «Rewind Please» eingängigen Pop internationalen Zuschnitts mit filigranen Melodien, soulige Vocals mit einer währschaften Prise Rock.

Komponiert und produziert wurde das gesamte Album von Bachmann, ihrem langjährigen Pianisten Sandro Marretta und dem Anshelle-Bassisten Phil Küffer innerhalb weniger Monate. Den letzten Schliff erhielten die Songs dann im Bandraum in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Gitarristen André Brügger und Martin Kissling am Schlagzeug. Enstanden ist dabei ein Werk, dass den internationalen Vergleich nicht zu scheuen braucht. - DRS3 [22.08.2007 ]


"Swiss pop on a roll"

15/02/08
A new Irish record label is set for one of its biggest releases yet by Swiss band, Anshelle.

A five-piece band hailing from Bern, Switzerland who describe their sound as ‘guitar-pop,’ Anshelle will be releasing their single I’m Alright on February 18 through Belfast based label Urban Angel Music.

The award-winning Swiss act are hoping to make a similar impact on the UK and Irish scene as they have already done in Switzerland. They have already won many awards, been playlisted by radio stations worldwide, made multiple TV appearances and have also placed in the Swiss music charts.

Anshelle’s constant touring and large fan base brought the band to the attention of Mark McAllister from Urban Angel Music, which in turn led to them to sign an album deal with the label.

Mark McAllister said: “We are certain they will make a huge impact on the UK and Irish scene with their new single and album.”

Anshelle are arriving in Belfast on February 19 to promote the release with a busy schedule of interviews, radio and televison performances and several gigs, including their single launch at The Pavilion on February 19.

The new single can be bought as download in Ireland, by texting “music 614” to 5750 and in the UK on all major download sites. More information on their shows in Ireland can be found at www.myspace.com/anshelle or www.urbanangelmusic.com - the Irish News


"Anshelle wins 2007 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Awards"

Anshelle wins:
-Best International Pop Song
("Rewind Please")
-Best International Pop Group
www.torontoexclusive.com - TEM [19.10.2007]


"Anshelle wins 2007 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Awards"

Anshelle wins:
-Best International Pop Song
("Rewind Please")
-Best International Pop Group
www.torontoexclusive.com - TEM [19.10.2007]


Discography

CD Albums
- All In (2012)
- Betty's Garden (2009)
- Rewind Please (2007)
- Part of the Game (2002, BMG)
- Neuland (2000, BMG)

CD Singles
- I Can See Your Beauty (2012)
- Good Days - EP (2010)
- Secret Garden (2009)
- Crossroads (2009)
- I'm Alright (2008, Urban Angel Music, UK)
- Hayfield (Bring Me Back)
- Rewind Please (2007)
- Neuland (2001, BMG)
- Einmal (2001, BMG)

Radio Singles
- I Can See Your Beauty (2012)
- Good Days (2010)
- Secret Garden (2009)
- Crossroads (2009)
- I'm Alright (2008)
- Rewind Please (2007)
- Indian Summer (2002)
- Bangkok Smiling (2002)
- Go-Girl (2002)

Photos

Bio

Anshelle – All In and Playing For Keeps

There comes a point in the timeline of any band or musician where you decide you’re going to quit, become a weekend warrior, or go All In.

Anshelle have chosen the latter, announcing their decision with confidence. Their new album, All In, shows a band that continues to evolve artistically in the midst of an ever more complex world. Vocalist and lyricist Michle Bachmann digs deeper than ever into the depths of her soul, giving a performance that’s breathtakingly personal and vulnerable, yet full of a quiet confidence. The band crafts arrangements around her that blend Anshelle’s distinctive pop sensibilities with an edgy, post-pop aura that sucks you in. Whether you’re into edgy rock and roll (“Two More Miles To Vegas”, “Ghost Town”), lushly scintillating adult pop (“I Can See Your Beauty”, “Running Back To You”, “Diving Into The Night”) or singularly emotive ballads (“I Wanna Try”, “My San Francisco”), Anshelle finds a way to capture your attention.

“I Can See Your Beauty”, the first single from All In, makes a distinct impression; showing off Anshelle’s edgy feel and pure pop disposition in a finely crafted bit of modern pop/rock songwriting. Full of hope for tomorrow amidst the wreckage of the present day, “I Can See Your Beauty” is socially, lyrically and musically uplifting. Driving the song is the voice of Michle Bachmann, who owns one of the most distinctive voices in pop music. Bachmann evokes thoughts of Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders) and Sharleen Spiteri (Texas), while retaining a sound that is wholly her own.

Anshelle has been on a slow build in the nine years they have been together. The Berne, Switzerland quintet’s first national acknowledgment came in the form of a 2006 nomination for a Swiss Pop Award. Since then they have seen real chart success, with their most recent album, Betty’s Garden, peaking at #31 on the Swiss charts. But Anshelle’s reach quickly became international as well, with the band playing at such well-regarded events as the Montreux Jazz Festival, Gampel Open Air and Blue Balls Festival. Anshelle has also garnered three awards from Toronto Exclusive Magazine: Best International Pop Song - 2007 (“Rewind Please”); Best International Pop Group – 2007; and Best International Rock Album – 2010 (Betty’s Garden.)

For All In Anshelle has gotten back to their Indie roots while continue to develop their sound and style. Moving forward sans label, the band focused on making music for the fans that have supported them all along. Anshelle is determined to creation their own art, their own way. It’s working. All In is the band’s most sonically stunning album to date, evoking the highs and lows of life in artistically honest and musically accomplished songwriting. The level of intensity on All In is something you have to hear to believe. Anshelle doesn’t just declare their intention with the album title – they live it within every single song on the album.

Michèle Bachmann (vocals); Sandro Marretta (keys); Phil Küffer (bass); Martin Kissling (drums); Marc Hügli (guitars) have reached new artistic heights on All In, but it would be hard to call it a peak. Pick up the new album or catch them live and you’ll agree – this is a band that’s still growing artistically and as performers. There’s just no telling how high they’ll fly. One thing is for certain, it’s an ascent that any fan of truly inspired pop/rock music will not want to miss.