Electronic R&B where Freud meets Prince
21-year-old electronic one-man band Arthur Ashin actually released his debut album as Autre Ne Veut back in 2010, but it's hard to hear its follow-up without thinking quite specifically of Frank Ocean's Channel Orange. The albums don't sound that much alike on the surface -- Anxiety's songs are almost entirely electronic, so much that organic elements like the metallic guitar solos that rip through the climaxes of "Ego Free Sex Free" and "Don't Ever Look Back" sound even more startling -- but there's a similar nakedly confessional vibe to these songs. Reportedly written as a therapeutic exercise to cope with Ashin's general sense of unease (hence the album title and the Sigmund Freud quote at the top of the album's press release), the album places Ashin's soulful vocals front and center, with particular attention paid to his Prince-like falsetto. But where many electronic-R&B albums exploit the hot-cold combination of the vocals and synthesizers, Anxiety's arrangements have an uncommonly tactile richness to them that complements the warmth of Ashin's songs.