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Album of the week: Thom Sonny Green 'High Anxiety'

Alt-J drummer goes solo for his ambitious album

Artist: Thom Sonny Green
Album: 'High Anxiety'
Label: Sudden Records
Release Date: 19/08/2016

One of the biggest advantages of our job is that occasionally we get to preview albums before they're released, and this taster of Alt-J drummer, Thom Sunny Green's, brand new spanking album got us all hot under the collar - making it the ideal selection for this week's album of choice. Alt-J seem to have kept their heads down since the release of This Is All Yours in 2014, but things are looking up again thanks to this outing from Green, on which his more typical moody sound has been switched up to reveal something a touch more unique.

'Vienna' gets the ball rolling on High Anxiety, with an injection of hip-hop rhythms and his infamous drum and synth beats making an early appearance. 'Market' is next and takes things intergallactic, with twinkling layers of sound and a definite pursuit in search of a darker mood. These one-word song titles are a theme throughout the album, standing true to that oh-so-indie form.

Green has marched on throughout his musical career with Alport syndrome - which means he is 80% deaf - never allowing it to stand in the way of his experimental flow. High Anxiety's ambient sound links back to the roots of his band, yet still manages to remain distinct. 'Blew' works with everyday sounds like the gentle fuzz of white noise, while 'Oslo' clears things up with striking Chinese-sounding melodies and tambourines. Things get darker with 'Cologne', a tune that startlingly would be the perfect fit for a horror movie soundtrack.

An exploraton of trip-hop sounds appears in 'Grounds' - a vocally distorted effort to heat things up, and this theme continues through to 'Neon Blue', which polishes off the album while showcasing Green's impressive drum skills mixed with an 80s keyboard beat and feel-good vibes.

Green spent hours each day while on tour composing and producing his first ever solo album, and in an interview with DIY, he expressed his emotional attatchment to High Anxiety, explaining how it helped him overcome some personal issues: "I find touring pretty difficult, so you've got to put your mind somewhere, otherwise you lose it,” he reasons. "It really helped me with anxiety and stress. It meant I had control over something."

High Anxiety is more than just Green's first solo album - it's a method of self-therapy; a mantra. It's a concoction of graceful yet jagged sounds - a journey through his musical career and the result of an extended tour bus hobby. Intricate workings have gone into every track - each of the 21 songs also comes complete with a visual component - and the result is a catalogue of tunes that tap into feelings and emotions we all feel every day.

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