With hi-def production and bedroom lyricism, “Anxiety” is a surreal pop/R&B ride through depression and uplift that always puts feelings first.
I first heard Autre Ne Veut (Arthur Ashin) in 2011, featured on Ford & Lopatin’s excellent “Channel Pressure,” of the same label, Software.
That album collided ’80s disco/pop melodies with glitchy samples and buzzing synths to create something that felt brand new.
“Anxiety,” Ashin’s sophomore, full-length endeavour, sounds like its spiritual successor.
What “Channel Pressure” did to the ’80s, “Anxiety” does to the ’90s. And, thanks to Ashin’s barefaced romanticism, it doesn’t feel derivative or ironic for a second.
Standout slowjam “Gonna Die” is pure empathy, no pretense as he sings coolly: “I’m gonna die / I feel it more acutely now / than I have for a while.”
“Anxiety” succeeds by putting Ashin’s vocal emotion into its bangers.
Opener “Play by Play” spirals ever outward from its opening synth chimes into a perfect storm of pop hooks, MIDI percussion and lost love. Pitch-perfect lead single “Counting” sounds desperate even before the sax screams come in.
On “Anxiety,” Autre Ne Veut makes something close to a classic out of his heart-on-his-sleeve vocals and ’90s retro-future production.