Alex Highton’s second album sees him expand on the folk influences of his debut record to create a unique sound
lex Highton’s debut album Woodditton Wives Club was a triumphant folk record inspired by the singer’s move to Cambridgeshire with his family. More than two years later, he returns with the follow up, Nobody Knows Anything, a far more expansive, genre-spanning effort which has Alex joined by an accomplished cast of supporting musicians.
Highton himself describes the inspiration behind the album as “the loose idea that these songs were the thoughts running through someone’s head just before they die”. With this in mind it is perhaps understandable that this album is both ruminative in subject matter and varied in style. Alongside traditional sounding tracks such as She Had This Sister sit sombre waltzes (I Only Asked You To Try) and squelchy 80s synths (Fear And Panic). If these are life’s last moments then it is only right that the full range of emotion is dragged to the surface and within these songs you can hear it all, from calm reflection and despair to complete panic.
It is no surprise to discover that Highton cites Sufjan Stevens as a big influence on this record. The marriage of folk with electronic soundscapes is reminiscent of what Stevens achieved so successfully with The Age Of Adz. Highton manages to achieve a similar triumph on Nobody Knows Anything but with a pastoral twist that brings the experiment back to the English countryside.
Verdict: A gratifyingly inventive and complex record