More about: (Sandy) Alex G
On House Of Sugar, (Sandy) Alex G invites you to take a deep dive through a world which is both bright in watercolour spectacle, yet dark, vast and expansive, beckoning towards the deeper reaches of the mind.
Now on his ninth album, the Philadelphia based artist has crafted an enchanting, yet contrasting record. One where, the keys strengths lie within its use of varied, inter-locking synth textures. But, House Of Sugar also has a more personal slant for an artist who usually prefers to write about a variety of characters. “He was a good friend of mine, he died, why write about it now? Gotta honour him somehow”, Alex sings on ‘Hope’ about a friend who died due to taking Fentanyl. Not only haunting, but a sense of regret for a life lost for very little seems to linger through Alex’s vocals on this track.
There’s no doubt that Alex G is capable of crafting some of the most intricate, affecting lo-fi pop songs around. The slightly unorthodox melody of ‘Southern Sky’ is mellowed out by Alex’s vocals providing a soothing tonic. Tied together with the vocals of frequent collaborator Emily Yacina, they create a beautiful ambience that is sewn together through the strands of vibrant dream sequences. Tracks such as ‘Walk Away’ run meticulously like clockwork, a multitude of synth textures rotate, fade and rise again in the distance, sending rhetorical questions into the abyss of space.
‘Taking’ is set less in space and more in an alternate dimension, where the land and sky is taken up by colours we could not comprehend. This is where Alex G’s song writing and lo-fi pop excels, by being completely open to personal interpretation by finding sounds, echoes and reverberations that resonate, evoke and wake up the imaginative aspects of human consciousness.
The only real slip-ups on the album are the occasional vocals or vocal effects which slightly fracture, but don’t ruin a couple of the tracks such as the slightly diluted nature of ‘Near’ or the ever so slightly spoiled ambience at the start of ‘Gretel’. The narrative of House Of Sugar is projected mainly through the instrumentals but there are some standout lyrical moments, from the melancholy of “you know music makes me wanna do bad things” to the thought-provoking, “you haven’t really met me, I don’t think anyone has” which is cast under the moonlit shadow of the saxophone on ‘Sugarhouse'.
You feel as though you learn something new every time you listen to House Of Sugar - said house always seems be hiding a new feature. While every texture isn’t perfect on this record, (Sandy) Alex G has flexed all of his songwriting credentials.
House Of Sugar is out now via Domino.
More about: (Sandy) Alex G