A few years ago Matt Bianco teamed up with New Cool Collective for The Things You Love, an album with smooth Latin sounds like ‘We Should Be Dancing’, ‘Samba Italiano’, ‘Breaking Out’, and smooth jazzy numbers like the title track, ‘Cry’ and ‘Do The Right Thing’ – there wasn’t a single song on that album that seemed out of place.
Fast forward to 2020 and another New Cool Collective collaboration for High Anxiety.
The award winning Dutch ensemble really bring the album to life with their musical dexterity – if you haven’t yet listened to their music I’d highly recommend last album ‘Dansé Dansé’ which showcases what the band can really do – they’re genius and a perfect marriage for Bianco!
But back to ‘High Anxiety’ and straight off the bat the title track brings a new and exciting flavour. Taking you back to the 80’s with this hi-jinks, post-punk and ska infused track, the quirkiness of it makes you think of Madness but with Bianco’s trademark vocals and edge.
Listening to the album further ‘When the Ghosts Come out to Play’ had a Specials ‘Ghost Town’ element to it, while ‘The Spice of Life’ and its Two-Tone vibe made me think of bands like ‘The Beat’ and suddenly it hit me – the connection between the albums title ‘High Anxiety’ and the Mel Brooks film of the same name (which was a spoof to Hitchcock films) became apparent! The album is an ode to bands of the 80’s, not lyrically but in musical reference – very clever.
Personal favourites on this album are; ‘Grains of Sand’, ‘I’m Travelling’ and ‘If You Feel Like Dancing’ – a lively track filled with horns, a cool reggae and calypso vibe but also very much stamped by the New Cool Collective.