Try Solitude is an eclectic, experimental album riddled with acoustic guitar and prominent piano melodies mixing with programmed drum parts and vocal samples. The debut from Jeff Thomassen was recorded in his home studio, and at just 17 years old, the Lafayette native came up with his moniker in honor of his family – one of the many themes that comes up during the course of the album. Try Solitude is somewhat of a concept album with an array of ideas that come together ranging from self-identity, love, spirituality, social injustice, solitude, and passion.
It is a reflective album with each song relating to a specific theme. Thomassen’s fascination with concept albums influenced the direction of this album. From start to finish, Try Solitude is really a journey of a young man trying to feel things out. The lyrics are poetic narratives that clearly show Thomassen’s curiosity with every facet of life. And he does so in an insightful way, with maturity beyond his years. The pseudo-concept album angle could have easily gone awry, but the honesty and passion takes it to another level.
Thomassen’s fondness of nostalgia also shows in a few tracks, particularly “Phantom Jealousy.” There’s a distinct flair for a retro sound with nods to 1950s pop music reinforced by doo-wop style vocals. “The Human Farmers” incorporates some elements from early indie masters like The Pixies and They Might Be Giants. But more modern sounds are featured on “On Earth as It Is in Heaven” with a strong synth pop flair. This broad range of influences is the perfect complement to the concept album, giving it more dimension than solely relying on the storytelling component.
The downside is that all this diversity keeps the album from having a sense of cohesiveness. Each song is good in its own right, but the tracks don’t flow together as well as they could. Every song has such a strong identity that at times contradicts the others.
Overall, Try Solitude is a high quality debut with a unique twist on what can be considered a concept album. It’s creative, reflective, and an impressive first showing from a young, emerging artist.
You can purchase the album in its entirety as a name-your-own-price deal from Bandcamp here.
© 2013, The Indie Mine. All rights reserved.