Anatomy want to make you uncomfortable. The Leicester noise group are fucked off, with no plans to tone it down. After forming through different music, riot grrl and spoken word scenes, the band explores what it means to be on – and off – the edges of what is considered acceptable to mainstream society.
Both their sound and structure are unconventional, initially making what bassist Adrienne Jones describes as “weird acapella stuff”. In their early experimentations, the band coined the term “spooky doo-wop” as a basis on which they wanted to build, using lead vocalist Cynthia Rodríguez’s poetry.
“It’s still recognisably a rock band,” says Emily Rose Teece, guitarist. “But all of the songs are very long and especially when you’re playing a show as part of a bill with quote-unquote ‘normal’ punk bands, the way that we play the songs and put them together is maybe wrong in a lot of people’s eyes. When we’re playing live, there’s always someone in the room that’s probably being made uncomfortable by it, and that’s probably someone that I want to be made uncomfortable by it.”
In terms of its membership, the band is an intersectional one, made up of multiple and overlapping identities. They examine “the trans experience, the queer experience, experiences of a person of colour, and experiences as a woman, and it is about documenting that and pushing back against the ways that you are pushed when you are in those identities,” says Teece.
“It’s about taking over as many disciplines as possible and allowing ourselves to be outside and be visible and… well, not rude,” Rodríguez continues, quickly changing their mind. “Yes, rude. Shouting at people in the face, being on stage, allowing ourselves to do things that the mainstream echelons of power wouldn’t want us to do.”
Their enduring narrative of resistance, taking up space and redefining one’s identity has influenced the writing of their soon-to-be-released debut album, with their sound mirroring the same punk abrasiveness. “Hopefully it sounds like shit,” says Rodríguez. “But in a good way. Like crumpled paper.” Teece laughs, continuing: “Our producer [Fatmate’s Anthony Sotelo] sent us the recordings, and we were like ‘that sounds great, but could you make it sound worse?’”
The record covers a range of emotive topics, from a spiked drink to family expectations, to being harassed on a football night and “fantasising about fighting back”. Being called Anatomy, unsurprisingly, they also talk a lot about bodies. “A lot of our songs are mostly about identity, but also physicality and how that affects your identity,” explains Jones.
“It’s constant heartbreak every day,” describes Rodríguez, talking about channelling their experience of existing as a queer person into their songwriting. “Not just romantic heartbreak but in daily life, socially, environmentally, like when you fall out with relatives because they don’t like the way you are. That’s all heartbreak. It’s like what Space Mum [Carrie Fisher] would say: ‘Take your broken heart, make it into art’. So that’s what we’re doing.”
For the band, the feeling of discomfort isn’t going away. Instead, they’re taking ownership of it; using it for catharsis, for self-discovery, and for making an awful lot of noise.
Anatomy release their debut LP later this year.