A singer-songwriter from Texas, Austin Meade’s new album Abstract Art Of An Unstable Mind is his second with Snakefarm Records. It is a concept album of sorts, with each track encapsulating a little stories of life and growing up – these episodes are broken up by the occasional short clip from the fictitious radio station LMAM. It is a varied record that gels together well, even if the radio clips do disrupt the flow somewhat – although ‘LMAM What’s Your Problem’, with its flat-earther style spin off, does raise a smile.
The first track ‘Violation Delight’ – awash with nostalgia about teenage days spent at local fairs – is an energetic rocker with plenty of fuzz and a dirty riff. The first half of the record is made of lighter and bouncier tracks, with the delightfully sunny funk and lively guitar solo of ‘Red Roof Estates’ among the best. ‘Late Night Letdown’ shares many of the same qualities, with its clap-happy groove detailing a fractious relationship told over answerphone messages. It is not all funk, as the rocker ‘Queen of the Letdown’ and its big wall of chords offers plenty of bite.
Through the trials and tribulations of the songs, and the album’s episodic nature, there is a nice ebb and flow here. From the fraught, alcohol washed relationship troubles of the hummable country rocker of ‘Rose Romance’ to the emo influenced ruminations on the popular kids ‘Varsity Type’, Abstract Thoughts… gradually gets darker, sombre and more melancholy. ‘Loser Mentality’, with its juxtaposition of light and twinkly melodies and crashing chords, is a more introspective number about the mindset of the nerds and down and outs.
The melancholy lyrics and Led Zeppelin-esque part-acoustic and part-burly rock of ‘Abstract Art’ is good, but the reflective and sombre tone does weigh things down a bit at times – the heavy and cumbersome ‘Forever Unfaithful’ is a good example of this. Whilst ‘Quicksand’, co-written by Tyler Bryant and Caleb Crosby of Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown, has an enticingly moody riff, the second half of the album needs a bit of brevity in amongst the darkness.
Abstract Art… is a varied album about the trials and tribulations of growing up, with plenty of ambition, thoughtful lyrics and attention grabbing hooks let down slightly by an over melancholy ending.
Buy the album here: https://austinmeade.lnk.to/AbstractArtOfAnUnstableMind
7 / 10