Active Child - In Another Life Music Album Reviews

On his first release in five years and his major-label debut, Pat Grossi offers his cinematic anthems as a sort of spiritual balm.

On In Another Life, Active Child’s Pat Grossi offers cinematic strings, surging choral harmonies, and his dazzling harp as a kind of spiritual balm, a respite from the harsh outside world. Frequently, his new album sounds like church music (which comes as no surprise, given his roots as a choir boy). On the anthemic album closer, he urges us to “Hold your head up/Even though it’s a cruel world.” But Grossi never fully introduces the conflict or cruelty of that world into the realm of his compositions—there is no ugliness here, only affirmation, and sounds as pristine as the upholstering on the album cover.

This is the Pasadena-based musician’s first release in five years, and his major-label debut for Sony. In a note shared to Twitter, he alluded to the fact that this release had been “with me for too long really”; he also mentions that he began composing it after the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015. These attacks were perhaps the impetus for the soothing, sympathetic offerings on In Another Life like “Cruel World,” and “Brighter Day,” though Grossi also cites death and the birth of his daughter as songwriting inspirations. The loosely circling themes feel almost irrelevant; the textures are what’s most striking.

Grossi has largely ditched the soft-rock sheen of his 2015 album Mercy, returning to full-bodied strings and choral chamber-pop dotted with electronic flourishes. When he’s in this mode, Active Child sounds glorious. But perhaps even more impactful than the grandiose moments are the lower, more somber offerings. “Spirit Buoy” is a showcase for his delicate double-tracked vocal and harp, while he delivers a horror movie-worthy distorted vocal in his trembling higher register on “Color Me,” the record’s only thrillingly discordant moment. On lead single “Weightless,” the percussive hand claps resound viscerally in your eardrums and the dam-bursting strings lead to a dramatic payoff that feels earned.

Elsewhere, Grossi creates moments of bombast that fall flat because of the platitudes at their center. “Weightless” is followed by “Brighter Day,” a dusky track that urges its listeners to “Love one another/Help your brother/Lean on each other.” These cliches are met with no tension; as with the sunny “keep your head up” hook on “Cruel World,” they shimmer earnestly over a bed of powerful drums and Hollywood strings, offering nothing but uplift for uplift’s sake.

Grossi often hints at shadows in his lyrics, but shies away from looking directly at the objects casting these shadows. On “In Another Life,” he sings that we’re surrounded by “something bigger”; on “Cruel World,” he dedicates himself to “something richer,” but in both instances he swerves away from specificity. There’s a hollowness to this worship, though Grossi plugs the gap with distractingly beautiful arrangements. It is an unmistakably lovely record, which is occasionally stifled by its own loveliness.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Active Child - In Another Life Music Album Reviews Active Child - In Another Life Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, April 24, 2020 Rating:

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