'Drone Bomb Me', the lead single for Hoplessness is a perfect introduction to ANOHNI's new sound and approach. A dance-floor ballad calling to military drones, it balances death and desire above bright chords and infectious percussion. Taken superficially, it's a euphoric dance track, the sort of hands-in-the-air number that you could see going down a storm late in a DJ set, but listening to the lyrics reveals a dark, and somewhat disturbing truth. 'Drone Bomb Me' is a nihilistic plea to an unseen enemy, one that's weakened and brutalised the song's protagonist so much that their strikes feel like love.

Throughout Hopelessness, ANOHNI uses juxtaposition and imagery like this to make a variety of political statements. '4 Degrees', for example, sees the singer adopt a persona that takes almost sadistic glee in environmental destruction. Whilst 'Execution' pairs lyrics dealing with torture and the death penalty with a beautiful synthesised harp melody. ANOHNI's delicate performance throughout this song lends the whole thing an uneasy edge, as though the "dream" she sings of is on the verge of collapsing.

Hopelessness features production from Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never, with the former's signature sound having a huge influence on the record. ANOHNI first collaborated with Mohawke for the latter's 2015 record Lanterns, for which the singer was sent a series of demos, many of which she wanted to keep for her own record.

This shift to dance music shouldn't be a shock for people who've followed ANOHNI's career to date as, whilst her work as Antony and the Johnsons skewed more towards avant-pop, her collaborations with Hercules & Love Affair showed how she can deliver socially aware message alongside accessible, infectious melodies. In fact, it makes sense for a politically charged record like Hopelessness, what better way to broaden the audience for your message than packaged in dance floor friendly, club-ready tunes?

Whilst much of Hopelessness is packaged in infectious rhythms and engaging pop-melodies, it isn't afraid of being direct. '4 Degrees' contrary positions on the environment dares to be confrontational - ANOHNI makes it hard for us to ignore the image of fish dying by the millions. Similarly 'Obama' takes the themes of hopelessness to their logical endpoint, putting ANOHNI's pitch-shifted vocals against a witch-house inspired back of dark synthesisers and synthesised snare drums.

In the lead up to Hopelessness' release, ANOHNI has discussed at length the origination and sentiment behind the track, explaining that her expectations of Obama as a president have not been met on a number of fronts - the environment, drone warfare and treatment of whistleblowers (particularly Chelsea Manning) - and going so far as to describe this as a "betrayal" on the record. 'Obama' puts this front and centre, distorting ANOHNI's usually beautiful voice into something horrific. It perfectly encapsulates the central struggle of Hoplessness, when even the leaders' once seen as our salvation from the old, broken systems fail us, where else can we turn?

Ultimately Hopelessness lays the blame not just at the feet of politicians, but with us as well. "How did I become a virus?" ANOHNI asks during the album's titular track. We are just as complicit in this turmoil and retreating to our filtered worlds does nothing to change things. We need to be heard. We need to fight. We need to force the change we want to see in the world.

Hopelessness is out May 6th, 2016 via Rough Trade and Secretly Canadian. Robert Whitfield gave this album an 8.5/10 rating.