words by tom johnson
photograph by ebru yildiz
Flailing Orbits, the latest song to be plucked from Anna McClellan’s forthcoming new record on Father/Daughter, sticks around for just shy of two minutes, seemingly because there’s nothing else for it to say, no ambiguous strands to be tied neatly in to bows. As wholesome as something so fleeting can be, the track is another impressive, invigorating taster of the ‘Yes and No‘ LP, which is released at the end of February, and, as such, we’re very pleased to unveil it here today.
“The one thing I keep taking away from life, through all the shuffle, is that there is always both: Intense happiness and intense sadness mingle,” McClennan says, with striking grandeur, in the album’s foreword. “The longer I’m alive, the more I can’t feel one without the other. It is the crushing beauty of existing.”
Making good on such sentiments, Flailing Orbits feels both wearily wilted and wide-eyed with the vigour of life, the subtle punchiness – and surprisingly tender shimmer – of the instrumentation backing up McClennan’s dented voice, which itself seems to flip between untethered flippancy and warm-blooded importance. In other parallel worlds, you can picture this miniature song building to some grandiose finale, powering through five, six, seven minutes of heart-on-sleeve anthemics, but, instead, just as it nears its peak it disappears, leaving nothing but the imprint of what came before and the hollow expectation of where it might have led. “And for the first time in a while,” she sings in its final burst, “I’m not dying to see your smile. I won’t mind if our stars’ twinkling never intermingle again.”
And then, with that declaration, it’s gone. Because, sometimes, that’s just the way the world works.
Pre-order ‘Yes And No’ here, via Father/Daughter