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As the year finally comes to a close, it becomes a time for self-reflection and reaching out to loved ones. We’ve been blessed with some amazing releases this year and thank GOODNESS, I’m not quite sure where we’d be otherwise… Our latest discovery is A.S. Fanning and his powerfully poignant album ‘You Should Go Mad’, out now.

The album kicks off in a somewhat gloomy way with ‘Worms’, a song about existential dread and anxiety, which makes sense I guess. It’s not the most inviting opening track, but its worth noting Fanning – aka Stephen Fanning – has an exceptionally distinctive baritone that certainly deserves your attention.

The pace then picks up for a charming little ditty called ‘Song To The Moon’, a song that allows Fanning’s folk-tinged roots to come through and it sounds just lovely.

Title track and previously released single ‘You Should Go Mad’ obviously deserves some attention and quite rightly so. Fanning’s authentic vocal feels eerily reminiscent of David Bowie here, as his colloquial tone soars over the richly resonant musicality effortlessly. Talking about the single, Fanning explains, “its a song about mental illness and anxiety. The title came from Moby Dick. There’s a section in it where Ahab is speaking with the blacksmith, Perth. Perth has had a lot of misfortune in his life but is a very stoical person. Ahab tells him ‘I am impatient of all misery in others that is not mad.Thou should’st go mad, blacksmith’. I found it a funny piece of advice; the idea that madness is somehow a beneficial choice, or preferential to internal turmoil. Or that the act of going mad is some sort of an exorcism.”

Unfortunately the second half of the album falls short a little and it feels as though Fanning is unsure of which direction to go in. Nothing wrong with a bit of experimentation of course and the dark, brooding nature of the album is certainly still there, but the sudden transition synth-infused song ‘Abandoned’ to the almost theatrical moments in ‘Dump Your Dreams’ doesn’t sit quite right for me unfortunately.

That being said, the album ends on probably my personal favourite from the album, ‘All Time’. A stunning folk-tinged track that is filled with beautifully arranged musicality and poignant lyricism throughout. Check out the equally stunning video below as well.

‘You Should Go Mad’ is out now via Proper Octopus Records.

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