Scott Lanaway Answering Machine Diaries

Torontonian singer-songwriter Scott Lanaway’s first solo album has an oddly claustrophobic atmosphere and an abundance of infectious electronic beats. The former member of Toronto band M-1 suffered a major back injury in 2000 that kept him in bed for months, wondering if he’d ever play music again. He spent his convalescence putting together a home studio and refining his sonically experimental compositions into the complex and meticulous nuggets that appear on this album. The strained conditions under which they were composed explain the unsettling effect of Lanaway’s songs. Even when he is strumming alone on his guitar, harmonising with himself and unadorned by the ubiquitous electronic blips, there is a tension in the music and a palpable sense of anguish behind many of the tracks. The feeling of agitation that runs through Answering Machine Diaries gives the collection overall an impression of schizophrenic discord. An unusual and interesting disc and a challenging — if somewhat disconcerting — listening experience. (Independent)