It's always so inspiring to be contacted by unsigned artists, especially talented ones on the brink of releasing their debut album. What a thrill that must be, channelling all your hard graft and skill into your artistry and for an album release date to finally be on the horizon.
It’s now time for Albert Man to enjoy the spotlight.
A half-German Mancunian singer-songwriter based in London, Albert has been recording and playing gigs since 2014 and is a welcome regular on the London gig circuit, having played at venues including The Old Truman Brewery, World’s End and The Bedford earlier this year. In 2015 he released his debut EP Slam the Brakes On which amassed considerable interest and captivated Liverpool-based blog GETINTOTHIS, who described it as "A bit special, to say the least".
He releases his 11-track, self-produced album Cheap Suit on 23 May 2016. It was recorded by Wes Maebe at the renowned RAK Studios, the recording space founded by the legendary producer Mickie Most, and where artists including Miles Kane, Mary J Blige and Frank Ocean have recorded live sessions.
2016 has been quite a year so far for this progressive musician. His accomplishments include (so far) reaching the finals of the esteemed Coffee Music Project - a high profile competition in London and NYC that showcases emerging musicians while engaging a deep spirit of community among those who share a passion for great music and coffee culture. All the proceeds from the live rounds go directly to support the charity Project Waterfall, and Albert stood out amongst the other 36 contestants which also saw Harry Pane crowned as runner-up. He played The O2 Priority Lounge before Grammy-Award winning hard-hitters Muse, and was a part of an emerging artist night at The Piano Works and Hotel Café Royal. In addition, notable live appearances have included Balcony TV where he gave a heartfelt performance of Do You Think About Me and London Live where he performed two tracks from the new album, Skimming Stones and The Dream Team. Not a bad start, right?
Now for the music itself. It’s tricky to define Albert’s style as it’s quite multifaceted but "piano-led, melodic pop" is a great place to start. He has been described as the UK’s answer to Ben Folds, a modern day Elvis Costello with a bit of Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon thrown into the mix. He's also a bit of a disciple of 1950's rock'n'roll and 1980's Bowie and murmurs of this undoubtedly are reflected in his music. Lyrics are a key feature of his work; Albert recently said that, for him, the words and concept comes first and each of his tracks offer quirky lines inspired by the quotidian; like relationships ("we'd talk for hours until it got late, making the perfect mix-tapes"), getting inebriated with your mates and nostalgia. He has the finesse to convert the commonplace, the ordinary into something memorable.
I've had the advantage of listening to the full unreleased album, and standout tracks include the punchy Don't Be That Guy (dishing out invaluable advice like "Don't be that guy with the hideous tie, and the hair dye and the Hollywood smile who's stuck in 1989") and Not Yet Just One More with a strong piano lead and a luring chorus, that tells the tale of going on a bit of a bender even though we are getting older now (hugely relatable) and "when the spinning stops, you reconnect the dots, it's nothing new".
Albert's work is visually enticing too. The album cover for Cheap Suit was created by Polish illustrator and graphic designer Patryk Hardziej and the video for Cheap Suit, about a man whose life takes a turn for the worst after a relationship breakup which results in him becoming homeless, has striking accompanying imagery. You can see some of this work on Albert's Instagram page.
Cheap Suit is highly recommended and I wish Albert all the best with this album and his upward trajectory.
The suit may be cheap, but this is priceless.
You can catch Albert at the following, upcoming gigs across the UK.
18 May 2016 at Karamel Club, London with Success Express Music
26 May 2016 at Paper Dress, London
07 June 2016 at Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s, London
10 June 2016 at The Amersham, London
12 June 2016 at Jimmy’s Farm, Ipswich