Art can serve many purposes, chief among them making a political statement. From Albert’s Favourites label founder, Adam Scrimshire, comes a stunning new album, Paroxysm, that sheds light on the UK Government, the treatment of refugees, and the disregard of low-income people. Scrimshire brings awareness to these issues the best way he knows how through statement-making jazz music that’s impossible to ignore.
Listening to this album is like walking through Scrimshire’s thought process as he learns of, processes, and forms an opinion on the social matters at hand (though the album is much longer than that thought process likely was). Hollow echoes followed by heavy drums at the very beginning serve as his awakening, and in turn, they urge us all to listen closely.
We’re then taken further into Scrimshire’s mind and emotional state thanks to sprawling melodies and dizzying instrumentation, with various noises throughout the album serving their own purposes, like the soft humming in “Eyes Shut,” as well as the sounds reminiscent of water and wind at the end of that same track, all offering poignant reminders of the realities people of the earth face when they’re not born to the right family or in a safe country.
There are some moments of what seem like lighthearted jazz that break up the solemn tone, but they’re more moments of controlled chaos than moments of celebration. There’s always a looming sense of his major sentiment – this is a life-or-death situation. And if you had any questions about what he’s advocating for, he makes it abundantly clear in the interludes, tracks four and seven that collectively make “What Is The State Of Our State.”
The last few tracks offer the bleakest, most sombre sounds, reminding us that sometimes, despite our best efforts, change simply doesn’t happen. Sometimes all we can do is unburden ourselves through music like Paroxysm in hopes of a better tomorrow.