On paper, this shouldn’t work. A fifty-something geezer from England locks himself away in his tiny home studio for three and a half years, to pour his soul into an album of self-penned songs. The result? ‘Songs for the Fragile Collective’ the album from Mark Applin and friends, operating under the name ‘Skylephant’.

It’s a brave album, tackling the emptiness of modern life and exploring issues of depression, anxiety, and mental health. As topics go, this is about as current and topical as it gets. According to the World Economic Forum, around 1-in-6 people globally (15-20 %) have one or more mental disorders. Globally, this means over one billion people have experienced one.

It’s a reflective album with themes most people will connect with, either from personal experience or through people they know, especially as the subject grows in awareness by activists around the world. The album hopes to contribute to this movement. It carries a message of hope, as Mark is living testament to being able to come through these adversities and create something positive through music.

It is both current and timeless, beautiful and frightening in equal measure. This is an album which takes repeated listens, sparking emotions and new perspectives at every sitting. The subject matter may be dark but it is delivered with blunt honesty and energy that transcends naval gazing, lifting it to a much more interesting artistic level. Think John Grant meets late Bowie, Talking Heads, Cocteau Twins, and Pink Floyd, and you’re not even halfway to picturing the way this album sounds.