Album Review: Autrey – Chemical Lonely EP (NewMusicFriday Episode 15 winner)

Autrey has an intriguing sound that feels like a good adult beverage; there are some sweet flavors, but also some things that will kick you hard. As it all comes together, you find yourself feeling a sense of sophisticated pop music. Autrey writes with a genuine pizzazz, encouraging chill.

The opening “Young and Bored” is a conflicted song that reveals a mature feeling while at the same time referencing youth. It’s about the imagination of a young person, dreaming of the future. The music is electronic based with some layered and unique sounds. The percussive style is very much in vogue. I’d characterize it as an urban sound, conjuring images for me of young upperly mobile people living in big cities.

The title track “Chemical Lonely” is an intriguing style in an of itself. The layered vocal opening shows off some fascinating electronic alterations of the sound. As the electro elements hit the track pretty hard, listeners are pushed into a bit of a trance. The sounds fall over the listener, making the sedative state of the lyrics come through in the sonic feeling of the song as well.

“Big City Love” is the track that won Autrey the review. The song is a bit more melodic, stripped down for a sincere sound. I originally made the comparison of Ruth B’s “Peter Pan.” I still think that comparison holds up. In fact, it’s my favorite on Autrey’s album by far. The sound is sincere and utilizes the electronic elements to highlight the lead vocal, rather than washing it out. The strings are a perfect for a deeply personal relational reflection.

“Kids in the Crowd” is much more of a standard electro anthem than other tracks on the album. There’s a pretty heavy hitting bass line that provides the backbone for the song. It’s a rallying anthem about people who blend in to society. It’s got a definite pop element that’s sure to appeal to a lot of listeners if they’ll give it a shot.

All told, this album stands out as a pop contributor. I am a bigger fan of “Big City Love” than the other tracks, but I think this music would have appeal especially among folks in the college and high school demographic. The overall style may not fit what we typically cover in terms of the folk or indie rock scene, but Autrey’s vocal and songwriting “Big City Love” show considerable promise for a future as a songwriter and performer.

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