Austin Meade – Abstract Art Of An Unstable Mind

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Following hot on the heels of his previous album (2021’s Black Sheep) Texan Austin Meade wastes little time in releasing his next opus Abstract Art Of An Unstable Mind. Featuring 19 tracks that explore the moods, thoughts and feelings of a cast of recurring characters, this album tells a series of stories, that while the tales might sometimes be an uneasy listen, they’re always compelling.

The faux radio spot that serves an introduction to Abstract Art Of An Unstable Mind could be construed as trivial, and the artist Austin Meade as frivolous. But take Austin as a joke at your peril; the riff that heralds the arrival of ‘Violation Delight’ is all business, and the solo which follows explodes like fireworks in a crystalline sky. With fuzzed up guitars, a solid backbeat, and Austin’s gravelly vocals floating atop, ‘Violation Delight’ is the stuff that rock n’ roll dreams are made of, and it’s hard not to get swept up in the swirling effervescence that permeates. However, there’s a dark undertone bubbling beneath the surface, and when Austin sings, “feels so good to fuck you over” he toys with the listener’s expectations and preconceived ideas to remind us that things aren’t always as they seem.

The story that runs throughout Abstract Art Of An Unstable Mind could be construed a concept album and follows a group of teenagers from high school to early adulthood. Most of the songs are linked thematically, and they explore the seedy underbelly of the nocturnal world. Austin paints the picture of unlovable cads, such as the one found on ‘Red Roof Estates’; “I’ve got a wife back home/the number I ignore on my phone”, yet the buoyant beat of tracks such as ‘Sinner Of The City’ make the protagonist strangely endearing. Listening to this album is akin to being charmed by a psychopath; you know you should extricate yourself from the situation, but the patter is so good you have no choice but to hang around.

The lyrical bent of Abstract Art Of An Unstable Mind can make for a heavy listen, but the pill is sugared somewhat by the insertion of several radio skits which add a touch of light in the dark. Nevertheless, perceptive listeners may notice a shift in tone as the album reaches its conclusion. The lyrics take on a more reflective tone, and the music becomes heavier (check out the monster riff on ‘Darker Shade Of Blue’) and more downbeat until we arrive at cascading closer ‘Rain Dancin’’. The album’s arc comes to a spiky and angular conclusion, and the unorthodox time signatures that pepper the song leave more questions and answers, which is exactly how an album should end.

Shinedown and ZZ Top are just two of many artists who’re fans of Meade’s dark art (he’ll be touring with the latter later this year) and on the strength of this release it’s easy to hear why. Hard enough to please the classic rockers, while wide enough in scope to appease a mainstream audience, it seems the world is Austin Meade’s oyster.

Track List:

  1. LMAM Morning Drive
  2. Violation Delights
  3. Red Roof Estates
  4. Sinner Of The City
  5. Late Night Letdown
  6. LMAM Midday Drop
  7. Queen Of The Letdown
  8. Rosé Romance
  9. LMAM Exclusive Interview
  10. Varsity Type
  11. LMAM What’s Your Problem
  12. Loser Mentality
  13. Take A Trip
  14. Dial Tone
  15. Abstract Art
  16. Quicksand
  17. Darker Shade Of Blue
  18. Forever Unfaithful
  19. Rain Dancin’