Review Summary: "Someone once told me to share what makes you feel most embarrassed or ashamed and the shame will die in the light of exposure. These songs are a part of that exposure."
Written after a stay in rehab in 2020, Boom. Done.
is a deceptively lighthearted title for an uncompromising and forthright look into Anthony Green's dark night of the soul. His recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder alongside longtime struggles with addiction provide plenty of fuel for a seemingly grim fire, but let's be clear, this is a fully textured album of shades light and dark in tandem. The stark colours of the drawing on the cover hint at the darker tones hit upon as the album chronicles some of the darkest times of Green's life, including what would appear to be a suicide attempt ("2022"), but the album finds him asserting his will to live and keep creating music in spite of this. "I don't wanna go out and get high" is repeated like a mantra on "So It Goes", and this declaration of resilience carries through, to a closing three-song stretch that ranks among the best music Green has made with any project.
"It's not about my relationship with drugs or people, it's about my relationship with myself." There's a fascinating dichotomy at play between this quote from Green in the album bio and the obviously collaborative nature of Boom. Done.
, down to it being marketed as the first album featuring The High and Driving Band, made up of Keith Goodwin and Tim Arnold of Good Old War, since an EP preceding Green's solo debut Avalon
. One can almost sense him gathering together close friends and collaborators for a support system which bleeds through onto the album, similar to Josh Homme after his own near-death experience before ...Like Clockwork
. Whatever the process, there's a warmth and gentleness underlying even the most aggressive moments here which stands in obvious contrast to the stark loneliness of Would You Still Be in Love
. The decision to coat Boom. Done.
with horns and brass was a stroke of genius; the album alternates between a hazy autumnal blur and technicolour explosion almost every other song, but always in service of the grit and emotion Green is conveying with the song at hand.
It's a tone and texture we've never heard Anthony Green sing over before, gently hinted at by the reworked Would You Still Be With Strings
album, but the man sounds as good as ever whether belting at the top of his lungs on instant classic "I Don't Want to Die Tonight" or staying gently reserved on the dreamy A Dream About Love/Death
-recalling "Maybe This Will Be the One". He works in R&B-leaning hooks on "Center of it All" and "Pleasure of the Feast", even recalling the energy of Circa Survive's best choruses on the addictive "Trading Doses", without ever losing the album's emotional thread. It's a powerhouse performance, some of his best vocals and most sincere lyrics in tandem, a true catharsis that sounds like the artist drawing poison out of his self to trap it on the album tapes. Lightyears away from the time and style of that first Soasin EP, Green remains one of the most versatile and engaging performers alive, seemingly over literally any style he chooses to master.