Thom Sonny Green meets synth with High Anxiety

High AnxietyThom Sonny Green’s first solo album, High Anxiety, is one for the senses. He’s better known as one third of alt-J, having been a drummer for the alternative indie rock band since they formed in 2007. But High Anxiety is a new wave altogether. Hanging up the indie drum sticks, he delves into the sensual and ethereal with instrumental electronic music accompanied by jerky visuals.

Opener, "Vienna", is the lead single off the album and slowly guides you into the eerie landscape. In a smooth transition, "Market" continues with trip-y, chasing synth, not too dissimilar to some kind of classic arcade game when it’s game over. But then this deep violin comes in, hinting at darker depths.

"System" seems to hit the trip switch, introducing a sense of impending doom with rhythmic bass line, which really drives home the album title and the introspective nature of the album. It’s sustained by "Blew" and "Arizona" with heavy synth and an eerie melody that reflects the album title like a hand to a glove. Drawing on his general anxieties from touring with alt-J, these darker tracks give a glimpse into how he uses production as an outlet, making it all the more poignant.

The moody and ambient quality fades slightly towards the second half the album where Thom Sonny Green embarks on a more uplifting and soothing sound, though not straying too far from the dark undertones. "Large" speaks for itself with thundering synths and bass, which relaxes in the following track, "Palms" creating a slow yoyo of calm and anxiety.

Unusually long, the album plays host to 21 tracks, each moving into each other seamlessly with fluid form. The ebb and flow, plus the extended album length, lends itself to more of a sensual and holistic experience. Closer, "Neon Blue", ends the whole album on a lighter note, but still drawing on the ethereal eeriness.

By no means is this the end of alt-J. This seems to be more of an exciting experimental release from Thom Sonny Green that’s worked out pretty damn well. Blending anxious synths with dark undertones, he captures his introspective in the refreshing way that alt-J has always done. Here’s hoping that we see some more solo production from Thom Sonny Green in the near future.

Release: 19th August 2016, Sudden/Infectious


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