“I'm changing so fast you can’t keep up,” Dhani Harrison declares on “thefearofmissingout” (Vagrant), the second studio album by thenewno2 (pronounced “The new Number Two,” in homage to a character from the short-lived cult TV series “The Prisoner”). The declaration sets the tone for an album about anxious times, and the music is appropriately fidgety and restless, a beehive of sound that almost subliminally coalesces into songs.
Harrison, the son of the late Beatles guitarist George Harrison, doesn’t ride dad’s coattails in what has been a highly individual career as a musician and songwriter. His quintet uses the studio as an instrument; guitars and keyboards don’t sound quite like themselves, but more like alien creations that cough, sputter, purr and disintegrate before our ears. It’s avant-rock that bleeds into the more rarefied edges of progressive electronic music. In this anything-goes environment, a guest vocal from theWu-Tang Clan’s RZA hardly sounds out of place on “The Wait Around.”
Harrison’s conversational voice folds into the soundscapes like another instrument. If anything, the sole issue is the self-effacing nature of it all. “thefearofmissingout” makes for an excellent, extended mood piece, but its distinguishing moments and alluring melodies are almost too subtle for their own good.