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Album Review: Anthony Green - Beautiful Things

Anthony Green has a very unique and familiar voice that has lent itself over the years to a number of projects, bringing with it a particular quality that in turn helped to get those projects apart from their contemporaries. Not unlike Chris Carrabba or Dallas Green in that respect, Anthony Green has put his vocal stamp on the likes of Saosin, Circa Survive, and The Sound of Animals Fighting (to name a few) and his subdued lilt and catchy melodies have elevated even the most experimental content of some of his progressive outputs to a more accessible platform.

As with his first solo record, 'Avalon', Green is very much about laying all his cards on the table. There has always been an honesty in his lyrics that resonates with his fans, whether it’s shrouded in metaphor as with Circa Survive, or belted through the searching desperation of early Saosin. However, here we are presented with a comparatively straightforward form expression through which Green explores his own life, and all the fears, joys, and struggles that are attached to it. The result may not be quite as poetic or challenging as some of his former lyrical work, but it is fearlessly open and unflinchingly honest, and that is something that can be appreciated and admired by his fans (new-found and hardened veterans alike) in its own right.

Recorded with his backing band (and close friends) Good Old War, whose instrumentation and group-harmonies add a rich color and texture to the album, what makes Green’s solo work so interesting is how far removed it feels from any of his other projects. With numerous songs written for his one-year-old son (‘Love You No Matter What’, ‘Lullaby’, ‘James’ Song’) and almost all of them pertaining at some stage to his personal battle with clinical depression (“I’ll always be unhappy one way or the other/ I’ll always be unhappy if I don’t sing”) and his current perception of life (“And all I’ve got to do is run round in the rain/ Gather up perspective from that hail”), 'Beautiful Things' feels like an altogether more intimate work, playing through like something of an open diary that has to be read aloud regardless of who is listening.

His solo work is also set apart from his other projects in that it doesn’t have a particular “sound”. In essence, both 'Avalon' and 'Beautiful Things' are folk/acoustic efforts, but they both draw heavily on inspiration from such a diverse variety of genres that it gives the impression that Green isn’t entirely sure exactly what he wants to do. From the folksy a capella of ‘Do It Right’ and fierce and angular guitar riffs of ‘Can’t Have It All At Once’ to the alt-country vibes of ‘Big Mistake’ and the woozy, spacious electro-dub of ‘When I’m On Pills’, the songs sound so stylistically different that 'Beautiful Things' feels almost too inconsistent at times. It’s refreshing, but hard to really get a hold on as a singular body of work. Unsurprisingly, the main cohesive factor is Green’s voice. His defining high- pitched howl and raspy cry carves through each track like a river, still packing all punch it carries in harder projects through a more tender musical landscape.

As he wrestles with his own identity, most notably his liberty from medication and his new role as a father, 'Beautiful Things' is a versatile and poignant expression of Anthony Green’s self-discovery, and a tough milestone in his career as both a musician and a songwriter.


'Beautiful Things' is out January 17th through Photo Finish Records.

Emma Garland

Alter The Press!