It’s a New Year, and my resolution is to look forward, not backwards, as I feel I have done since the pandemic began. So, it is perfect timing for a new album from Auckland’s synth-heavy Anecdata, as I can never resist stepping into the mind of Dan Satherley while attempting to disentangle his lyrics. His new album, “A Better Plan B”, had the ridiculous release date of December 23rd, so I am understandably only getting onto this now.
Anecdata lyrics commonly revolve around politics, conspiracy theories, the supernatural and sci-fi, and the new album doesn’t disappoint. Here, I’m mostly going to let the lyrics that resonated with me most speak for themselves.
The album title, “A Better Plan B”, is a lyric from the song 'Amelia Through the Looking Glass', which is on the speculative sci-fi end of the lyrical content. There are theories that famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart reached an uninhabited island, while recently there was some speculation based on a blurry photograph – rapidly debunked – that she was taken prisoner by the Japanese. But what if, Satherley ponders, Earhart didn't crash at all, but instead piloted her Lockheed Model 10 Electra into a rift in spacetime?
“they said you died in the Pacific Ocean
ran out of fuel to keep the plane in motion
and couldn't come up with a good solution
but I believe you had a better plan B than living with Moby
they never found your body and never will
you're on another planet, mission fulfilled
in 1937, pushing air uphill
and I believe you had a better plan B than living with Moby”
This is exactly the kind of nerdery I’ve come to both expect and love from Anecdata.
Satherley’s political observations also commonly come through clearly. “Staging a Coup” feels like an update to his 2017 (pre-pandemic) song “Anti-Faxxers”, and obviously refers to a specific event from recent times, perhaps written from the perspective of Trevor Mallard:
“what are you doing on my lawn?
better not be there in the morn
what do I need to get this
grime off the beehive”
It also doesn’t take much to work out the events referred to in “Holidays in Hawaii”, harking back to a prominent politician giving the impression on social media that he was in kiwifruit country, while actually spending time with family in his international holiday home, as he said he tends to do in July.
“I'm a rich man going on holiday
But I gotta look like I give a shit
Be a common man, not a con-man
Eat a meat pie, not a stir-fry
Ride a motorcycle, not an e-bike
I'm going on holiday
Have you ever been to Hawaii?
It's a lot better than Te Puke”
Overall, this album has given me exactly what I expected lyrically, and I still have plenty more to pore over. Find the new Anecdata album on Bandcamp, and on all the other usual streaming sites.