Alex the Astronaut Soars to New Heights on Debut LP, The Theory of Absolutely Nothing

Alex the Astronaut Soars to New Heights on Debut LP, The Theory of Absolutely Nothing

With the release of her debut record, Sydney-native Alex the Astronaut (Alex Lynn) explores themes of change, loss, and all kinds of love in a stunning folk-pop work positively brimming with virulent optimism.

As her name implies, Alex the Astronaut (real name Alex Lynn) has founded her sonography and songwriting on the incessant desire to explore her own puzzling reality as a twenty-something grappling through modern society. Powerful pop melodies give her songs an air of child-like wonder while acoustic instrumentation and carefully plucked guitar lines provide a sense of grounding that cements her folk-pop grouping. Her lyrical sentiments are rooted in authenticity, vulnerability and all spectrums of love, all while maintaining an unwavering sense of optimism. Her entirely positive perspective on loss, friendship, and change has proved consistently infectious since her 2016 debut, guaranteeing  all eyes are on her for a long-awaited full-length project.

Originally from Sydney, Alex has long asserted her musical fortitude and developed a doting fanbase in her home country of Australia while also drawing increasing international attention. In addition to gracing the lineups of the UK’s Great Escape festival, Spain’s Primavera Sound festival, and Manchester’s Neighbourhood Festival, Alex’s 2017 single “Not Worth Hiding” gained nationwide recognition as the unofficial anthem of Australia’s Vote Yes movement with a revealing recount of her own personal reckonings surrounding sexuality. Several years spent in the US on a soccer scholarship to Long Island University allowed her to pursue studies in math and science and added to an even more encompassing worldview we see reflected in her music. This experience birthed two EP’s, To Whom It May Concern and See You Soon, both released in 2017, along with a multitude of warmly received singles.

Today marks the release of The Theory of Absolutely Nothing, following years of wondering if we’d ever see an Alex the Astronaut LP. The ten-track record’s title stems from the notion that the more Alex explores her experience, the less she realizes she understands about the world around her, perpetuating the imagery of an astronautic voyager in a boundless universe. Opening track and crowd favorite “Happy Song” begs for a distraction from the deplorable state of missing someone, embellished with tongue-in-cheek “da-da-dadidum”’s in keeping with Alex’s unremitting positivity. A feeling of vulnerability is carried through to tracks like “Caught in the Middle” and “Lost”, which details choosing acceptance when there are no remaining options in the quaint storytelling flair Alex seamlessly pulls off. In an accompanying music video, she appears to “travel through the galaxy and tropical locations” (amongst other places you could get lost in) in front of homemade green screen projections (the darling low budget pandemic videos similar to this one we’ve seen  have got to be my favorite things to come out of quarantine).

“When you hadn’t thought this would happen
And you really wish it wasn’t happening
When fate takes you and it spins you around
But the summer brings a warming light
And you can feel the crawling time
It’s silent and slow but you will get home
When you’re lost
And you’re lost”

It feels unfitting to compare Alex to Australian indie-rock icon Courtney Barnett – her broad-sweeping ruminations on life’s calamities in seemingly perfect contrast to Barnett’s meandering recounts of daily mundanities. But it’s the endearing train-of-thought narratives and quirky chronicles that put Alex on par with Barnett’s chart-topping storytelling, coupled with a distinctive vocal quality that’s impossible not to fall for. “Split the Sky” carries the same thoughtful musings on common platitudes of Barnett’s “Avant Gardener” with an emphatic twist of rising to the occasion and “I’ll be alright”.

That optimism swells to brimming adoration on tracks like “Christmas in July” and “I Think You’re Great”, exploring both the romantic and platonic spectrums of love. “Christmas in July” feels droning, reflecting upon the beauty in surrendering to a love that makes you question everything you thought you knew in the best way possible. “I Think You’re Great” is indisputably an album highlight – a danceable ode to the purest form of platonic love and unsurmountable loyalty. Darker moments bleed through on tracks like “Banksia”, its title in reference to the Australian native flower that lined the street where Alex found out that her friend had passed away. “I Like to Dance” is a heart wrenching first person narrative detailing the mental conflict of being a victim of domestic violence. A borderline livid moment is shown on “I Didn’t Know” – an unexpected and refreshing display of evolved range and diversion from Alex’s emblem sunny melodies.

With the addition of only three previously unreleased songs, The Theory of Absolutely Nothing is brought to a close with the introduction of perhaps one of the most evident displays yet of Alex the Astronaut’s galactic aesthetic on “San Francisco”.

“I’m just a traveler passing through, passing through
Riding my spaceship to the moon, to the moon
Looking down at the hope and the pain
But the colors are all going to change
Yes, I see a garden that’s in bloom, that’s in bloom” 

In a meta allusion to her astronaut status, Alex once more takes on the role of an onlooker of her own experience as well as those of the characters she details so eloquently in her storytelling. “San Francisco” is meditative, thoughtful and encouraging, painting blooming floral vignettes in an entirely optimistic glance to the future. For Alex the Astronaut, it’s one that promises endless extremities of the earth and beyond left unexplored, as well as stories left to be told.

Photo credit: Jess Gleeson