Alex Highton is a new name to me, but one I suggest you make a note of if you haven’t come across him before. Born in Liverpool, ‘Nobody Knows Anything’ is his second album which has deservedly received rave reviews in the UK and abroad, combining good clear vocals and exquisite song writing. However, if you are after a genre specific album then you will be disappointed as this features elements of folk, jazz, blues and even 80’s electronic, reminiscent of Kraftwerk in their heyday.
The opening track ‘You don’t own this live’ is beautifully thought provoking and although starting in a folksy singer songwriter mode moves seamlessly into a jazz waltz. The musicianship and production throughout is excellent with creative use of a string and horn sections as well as synthesizers. It is one of those albums that as soon as you think you have the measure of Alex Highton, something will pop up and surprise you, for example on the vocal arrangement at the end ‘It Falls Together’. The folky ‘Kills’ is enhanced by a duet with Nancy Wallace and their vocals accompany the wonderfully morbid lyrics beautifully. ‘Fear’ has a real 80’s feel and as with most tracks on this album asks questions on our own mortality. ‘Mephisto’ ends with a dynamic combination of strings and rock guitar instrumental and the final track ‘It’s’ is a gorgeous little tune about what lies in wait after we have all gone, ending in a ‘Kitchen Choir’ version of the same song.
All in all an excellent album that is thought provoking, musically exciting and full of surprises – highly recommended.
Review by Graham Steel