Think Good Audio’s Michael Haynes burrows deep inside himself with each new project, emerging with emotionally-resonant instrumentals that cover the vast ground between despair and hope.
The latest Think Good Audio release, Withdrawal, centers on the theme of alcoholism and its deleterious effect on relationships. A dark topic for sure, but much of the music here is surprisingly serene, as if the songs were suspended in a drunken daze, content on the surface while also being aware of the next day’s shame. While listening, I was repeatedly reminded of a moment from The National’s 2013 song “Don’t Swallow The Cap“; near the beginning of that track, frontman Matt Berninger sings, his voice floating atop motorik drumbeats and celestial strings, “Gold light breaks behind the houses […] Tiny bubbles hang above me […] I can hardly stand upright…” TGA and The National have little in common as artists, but both clearly convey the trancelike, almost holy feeling that can be associated with intoxication. Withdrawal‘s “Like Champagne For Tears” calls back to the pastoral-hop breaks of Boards Of Canada or Four Tet; it’s borne along by a melodic cloud that resembles a series of church bell chimes looped and smudged together like watercolor paints. It’s a gorgeous listen, made darker and more poignant by the greater context of the album. As always, Haynes doesn’t shy away from his demons, and his music is all the more divine for it.