On You And Me And Everything—his new full-length album as Tōth, available now via Northern Spy Records—NYC-area singer-songwriter Alex Toth sounds movingly honest.
This latest Tōth effort is emerging after the end of a romantic relationship that the artist was in which lasted over a decade and that he’s been relatively open about. In addition—as tracks like the lyrically quite specific “Turnaround (Cocaine Song)” make clear—the shifting tides that Toth has faced don’t end there. While remaining pointedly grounded, You And Me And Everything looks forward. The record’s vibrant and persistent energy seems like the musical equivalent of the sense of promise that might come with an early morning sunrise.
Generally, the record prominently centers Toth’s contemplative looks at scenarios that are apparently drawn from his personal life, and the emotive instrumentals alongside Toth’s sometimes wistful and sometimes somber singing compellingly build out the picture.
Although the songs often feel a bit poignantly dramatic, the musical trek also proves quite personal, with a strong songwriting focus. The flowing rhythms prove breezy and breathable, and the songs, while dynamic, also appear at least relatively unencumbered, as though stepping into some unfamiliar but promising environment with a close friend.
Alternatively, with its straightforward emotion and rich passion, the music often evokes images like sitting in a peaceful and hazy bar while watching Toth perform from within a spotlight on stage.
As a whole, the album often feels grounded in a kind of quiet malaise. The tracks often feel poignantly a bit off-kilter (thanks in no small part to the array of sonic flourishes), but not disorientingly so. The gently swaying album includes (besides welcomingly familiar elements like a guitar and piano) a trumpet, viola, saxophone, shaker, and more, and the transitions between these diverse elements are more smooth than not. The journey feels like walking through a newly blooming park in early spring.
The forward-moving energy throughout You And Me And Everything begins with danceably jittery album opener “Habit Creature,” and follow-up track “I Might Be” slowly amplifies an underlying anxiety with a tense undercurrent, but here and elsewhere, the tones prove bright and shimmering. Thus, the subtle tension seems like a musical expression of a feeling that might precede stepping into a promising new possibility.
Elsewhere, Tōth mellows out. Tracks like “Angie” and “Daffadowndilly” feature slower performances, with the latter building into a particularly illustrious haze. The album subsequently slowly grows to moments like the lush ending on “Thirsty,” which is one of the tracks that features a viola. These brighter and crescendo-like moments land like refreshing experiences of communal acceptance.
As the threads of the album’s vibrant tapestry come together, the venture feels like a moonlight dance with a loved one. The restraint underlying Toth’s presentation highlights the gleefully surreal edges of the emotions coursing through the record, because everything seems in relative focus. Overall, the free-flowing energy that he and his collaborators have captured makes every moment seem wonderfully alive with possibility, even as shadows hang in the background.
On “I Might Be,” Toth sings, “Let’s just dance until there’s no music anymore,” and the entire record seems to musically express this idea of acceptingly settling into the tension of the never-ending process of self-realization.
Purchase this album at this link.