When put alongside the rest of Andy Stott’s catalogue, Too Many Voices
is hard to place a finger on. It is unmistakably Stott’s doing, as you can often infer direct lines of influence to his previous work, but at times it can feel like an entirely different ordeal altogether. In a way much like 2014’s Faith In Strangers
did, Too Many Voices
sees Stott taking a step out in a different direction while grounding himself by continuing to cultivate various themes and sounds that have made his music unique throughout his career.
Stott often does this by complementing his signature style of gritty techno with an unusual pop sensibility, one virtually untapped by him at this point. Thankfully, Stott manages to foster this union without sacrificing the keen sense of space and rhythm that he is known for, which makes for what is perhaps the most striking feature of Too Many Voices
. This is particularly noticeable in areas of stark contrast, such as that of the mechanical percussion and bright instrumentation in songs like “On My Mind” and “New Romantic,” the latter of which being what is possibly the most convincing embodiment of Stott’s evolution. The disparity between its stomping bass and the glimmering synths is perfectly adorned by Alison Skidmore’s ethereal vocals, making for an incredibly trance inducing piece that hearkens back to the best of his previous work without imitating it. Stott quite skillfully pulls this effect off in much of the album, as songs like “First Night Alone” and “Over” show patient restraint and a desolate aura akin to his pair of 2011 EPs, but they never seem lazy or derivative. The title track closes out the album and leaves us with something completely fresh, with Skidmore’s excellent performance (supplemented by a chirpy choir a la Oneohtrix Point Never) making it what might be the closest thing to a pop song that Stott has ever written. Perhaps it, and the record as a whole, is an indication of the future for Andy Stott – and if it is, it is one worth looking out for.