Recorded in hotel rooms and wherever he could get the chance during their last epic tour, Alt-J’s drummer, Thom Sonny Green, has crafted a fascinating scrapbook of observations and moods sampled from wherever his well travelled Muse rests.
Interestingly, Green has resisted the temptation to learn a few chords and start strumming some tunes together, and the trajectory on this first solo flight of his veers light years away from the indie folk rock of the band for whom he sits behind the drum stool.
Given his quirky drumming style, with cymbals not even featuring in his arsenal, it comes as little surprise that he has put together an album full of so many detours and unnerving blind alleys.
Reflective of his own anxious personality, a number of these tracks – all of them instrumental and with no hint of their content in their titles – feel lost and lonely, like passengerless cars travelling through endless highways at night.
Like stops on a tragical history tour, the tunes are blurred snatches of melodies, distorted images in a reflecting pool that stretches out to still, cold horizons.
The odd exception is the gorgeous, shimmering Ping, an erudite mix of thick pea soup strings, razor-sharp beats and an icily warm sampled voice.
High Anxiety is an album in the true sense of the word. The individual tracks are not to be swallowed individually, but absorbed into the whole experience.
Evocative and addictive, it doesn’t welcome you with open arms and a smile, but with a sidelong glance, a raised eyebrow and a crook of the finger.
Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.