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'Day After Yesterday'
(Inside Out)
15th June 2015

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

anneke van giersbergen

Dutch singer/songwriter Anneke van Giersbergen has become a firmly established solo artist over the last few years through her own work plus many collaborations with Ayreon, Devin Townsend and Moonspell.

She first made her name as the singer with The Gathering, a kind of alternative Metal band from the Netherlands who carved out a worldwide following and reached cult status in their native homeland and parts of the Americas. Anneke was very much seen as the heart and soul of the band by many so she made a brave decision in 2006 to leave the safety of being in a successful group and branch out on her own.

The first part of that journey saw her calling the project Agua De Annique before eventually starting to record and perform purely under her own name and here Inside Out have re-released the four albums from that period as a box set.

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The Gathering were (and are) a band willing to experiment and change styles but in the charismatic singer's own words: "The freedom to explore various musical styles and forms was very exciting".

'Air', released in 2007, was a first gentle step in that direction. Echoes of her history in The Gathering could be heard in 'Lost And Found' and 'Witnesses' but overall there was a more pop/rock feel to the songs. There are less occasions where that magical voice has to compete with a wall of noise and the vocal is much more a focal point of the album. This is fully evident in the wistful 'Day After Yesterday' and the emotional 'Beautiful One' which is still a staple in her live show today.

anneke van giersbergen

'Pure Air' is an acoustic album released in 2009 and features stripped down versions of some songs from 'Air' plus a few covers and collaborations with artists such as Arjen Lucassen from Ayreon and Anathema's Danny Cavanagh. This comes across more as a stop gap release than anything else and doesn't really have the feel of a an album but rather a collection of bits and pieces.

There are several notable songs on it including a duet with Sharon den Adel from Within Temptation on 'Somewhere' which would be repeated in the latter's 'Black Symphony' DVD. The minimalist vibe works very well on most songs but there are a few too many duets for me and while I will listen to the magnificent van Giersbergen voice sing anything, covers of Alannis Morissette and even Frankie Goes To Hollywood are a bit throwaway for such a talent.

anneke van giersbergen

Later the same year 'In Your Room' was released. A definitive follow up to 'Air' it showed the pop/rock crossover direction hinted at previously being fully embraced and celebrated. The dark edge and angst of The Gathering years is abandoned at least temporarily for a happy, joyful vibe with songs full of melody and light and choruses that stick in your head.

For me personally this is the album that started me along the road of being a fully fledged convert to the Anneke fan club and I still love it. The keyboard hook of 'I Want' is just irresistible as is the playful 'Sunny Side Up'. The whole vibe of the album is upbeat so even when things get more thoughtful and introspective like in the beautiful ballad 'Wonder' and the haunting 'Home Again' you are still left feeling uplifted.

The name of Anneke van Giersbergen had started to appear beside the Agua De Annique moniker on the album covers from 'Pure Air' and the last album to see that combination before the Agua part was dropped was 2010's 'Live In Europe'. This is a standard live release featuring Anneke with a full band performing a selection of songs from her solo career plus a nod to her days with The Gathering in various venues around the continent.

It lacks a little atmosphere as the crowd noise is well down in the mix but it's an enjoyable album all the same. The songs are naturally a little heavier sounding live than on record but the playing from the band is terrific and as always the vocals are simply superb throughout.

anneke van giersbergen

If you haven't come across this marvellous Dutch star then a four cd box set is a bit of an extreme way to jump in. I wouldn't advise against that but I think this package is aimed squarely at existing fans. As such it's a little disappointing to me that there is only one extra track included in 'Notthemostprettygirl' (that's how it's written) which was originally a vinyl only bonus track on 'Air'.

There are extra liner notes and some photographs too. While as you can see by the examples included Ms van Giersbergen is as stylish and photogenic as she is musically talented I would have liked to have seen a few more musical extras with this set. Overall though the music is terrific and the package worth a look from both committed fans and any curious newbies.




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