Fredo Viola is an artist originally born in London but now lives in New York. He had success and is best known for his beautiful song “The Sad Song.” I took a quick listen before getting immersed into his exceptional release entitled My New Head.
The album is one of the more unique and captivating I have heard in recent memory. It accomplishes something that very few albums do which is combine experimentation with accessible melodies. The songs feel fresh, robust and inhabit their own universe and my impression is that was where the title came from as if he is creating a new way to perceive.
The album begins with “Demolition” and you hear xylophone, reverb and other instrumentation that is hard to pinpoint. There’s a playful but haunting quality that is captured and often sustains with the subsequent songs.
“Pine Birds” is the first meaty song which revolves around angelic vocals, Tom Waits style percussion and many other layers of elements. I loved the delivery here and the instrumentation is ambiguous and symbiotic. It’s sincere, a little melancholy and like there’s a curiosity to the questions he’s asking. The horns are also incredible, very original and quite thematic when they come into the mix.
“Waiting For Seth” is very catchy. It begins with marching drums and unfolds with ephemeral instrumentation like flutes and pads. There was a hint of energy that felt like a cathartic release of anger. “Clouded Mirror” is another fantastic song that places you somewhere between playful fantasy and apprehension. It’s a unique combination and I thought the instrumental break a little after the two-minute part opened up more engaging musical concepts.
Viola brings unique tones and textures with “Black Box” which is very thematic with some of the most infectious melodies yet. The hook is emotive and accessible with the perfect amount of experimentation. The more cartoonish sounding “Kick The Sick” felt a tad silly but still a nice pit-stop or interlude.
“Stars and Rainbows’ is one of the more traditional sounding songs with piano and sweeping strings while “Sunset Road'' is a slow burn that is simultaneously beautiful and haunting. The most intimate sounding song goes to “In My Mouth.”
The somewhat panic-inducing intro to “Edwin Vargas” is a beautiful collage of sounds that transitions into one of the most powerful and triumphant moments. Last up is “My Secret Power” which is empowering and has the best groove on the album. It's quite joyful.
My New Head is a captivating album. It's a wonderfully singular sound that unveils itself with multiple spins. This album somewhat blurs the lines between emotional energy. We have words in the human language to describe emotion but sometimes it seems too compartmentalized What's the word to describe the most love you've ever felt for instance. Music at its best can reflect the complexity of being itself and capture those same vibrations within space and time.
I suggest playing this album from beginning to end so you can experience how art can transcend the mundane and bring you into a new head space. Highly recommended.
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