Alex The Astronaut – ‘The Theory Of Absolutely Nothing’ review: a debut that’s out of this world

A celebration of small moments and personal battles, Alex Lynn’s debut is as intimate as they come

Alex ‘The Astronaut’ Lynn has always been able to capture lightning in a bottle: Her breakthrough 2016 single ‘Already Home’ levies a criticism of societal wealth divides that’s sadly as relevant today as it was then (“There’s billionaires for presidents and parking fines at hospitals, I’m not the only one who knows”). A year later, she released the scrappy, Elton John-approved ‘Not Worth Hiding’, which stood proud during 2017’s Australian equal marriage referendum with the encouraging message that it’s “not worth hiding if you think you might be gay, or different in another way / You’re perfect just the same”.

Writing from the heart but capturing the energy of a situation, Lynn quickly established herself as an important voice to be heard. Debut album ‘The Theory Of Absolutely Nothing’ only amplifies that power.

Joyous opener ‘Happy Song’ is a rousing campfire anthem for when you need to escape the racing thoughts occupying your head. “I’m walking to a song that could set this street on fire / It’s strange how a song can do that sometimes,” sings Lynn with a knowing glint in her eye. This record is full of songs just like that. ‘I Think You’re Great’ is an uplifting burst of power-pop that encourages you to feel your feelings (“I want to ask, ‘Are you okay?’ I won’t judge you either way”) while the soaring ‘San Francisco’ champions kindness.

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A celebration of small moments and personal battles, ‘The Theory Of Absolutely Nothing’ is as intimate as they come. ‘Lost’ explores the impact of an unwanted pregnancy on both parties with a touching delicacy, and the electric ‘Split The Sky’ wrestles with hope, depression and coming-of-age uncertainty before the slow-burning fragility of ‘I Like To Dance’ tackles domestic abuse with fearless power. Lynn handles heavy subjects with a comforting touch, filling her debut with heartfelt storytelling that refuses to sugarcoat things.

Folk at its very core, ‘The Theory Of Absolutely Nothing’ manages to avoid the sleepy pitfalls of acoustic singer-songwriter music with a reckless lust for the new and the colourful. Never simply plodding along, the flourishes of keys and electronic cartwheels keep the energy up while the drama of the lyrics reveals itself. It’s a dynamic, ambitious debut cut with a very human touch.

On the closing voicenote of ‘Outro’, Lynn thanks the listener for getting through all 11 tracks on the album and bashfully hopes they had a “nice time”. It’s a one-take message of slightly awkward sincerity that is worlds away from the culture-shaking confidence she wields on the rest of the album, but is also somehow the perfect way to bring it all to a close.

Gut-led, emotionally driven and full of goosebump-inducing magic, ‘The Theory Of Absolutely Nothing’ cements Alex The Astronaut’s hype as one of the best rising artists around. Despite taking influence from the Einstein quote “the more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know”, this debut album is a work of genius.

Details

Alex the Astronaut new album Theory of Absolutely Nothing

  • Release date: August 21
  • Record label: N/A (self-released)
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