Optimism in 5/4

Category: music 122

Andrew Sisk’s latest release finds hope in simple acts of observation.

andrew siskThings are looking up for Andrew Sisk.  Following the release of 2015’s strikingly beautiful (yet hopelessly bleak) Arcticalia, it almost felt like we should have asked his neighbours to check in on him every few hours just to see how he was doing. While the Bossa Nova delivery that helped bring those nine tracks to life provided some assurance that he had at least found a new creative path to explore, the lyrics and subject matter confirmed he had fallen victim to a media induced depression. A bad case of Headlineitis.

Thankfully, that’s all in the past now. The cure?  Spending more time living life in the present and less time living through shared headlines and negativity.

“I’m in a better headspace,” said Sisk. “I only got back on Facebook to talk about this EP. Being off it was enormously helpful for me to redesign my life. So many things were unconscious habits, but now I’m spending my time doing what I want. I was shocked how much better life is off of social media and not reading the news compulsively.”

In bringing together the same group of musicians who contributed to his last project, and adding a few more, Sisk has created a confident sequel to his 2015 collection of politically minded compositions with bright synth leads and occasional soloing guitars cutting through the Brazilian swing with pop-perfect execution.  

Described asthe second half to a thought process. Resolving to focus on the good things, let hope rise, and embrace what is”, Antarcticalia finds Sisk’s writing both strengthened and hopeful.

“And I wanted the lyrics to be more like describing choreography,” said Sisk, commenting on the observational writing style that helps deliver his latest work.  “I’m hoping that comes across as an improvement, or an evolution.”

On the first three tracks of Antarcticalia, he appears to pick up where he last left us, but this time reflecting on his personal state of mind and the continued unavoidable onslaught of depressing news. But his shift in thinking is evident, and that’s what matters most. Don’t Wake Me Up Again, Bad News and Fragmented Me offer a beautiful contrast of subject and melody, while Bad Landlord, Standing For It and Book Club signify a return to the familiar form of storytelling that we have come to expect.

Welcome back, Mr. Sisk.

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