After doing many self recorded, produced and released records and cassettes, Philadelphia’s Alex G has rightly been snapped up by Domino for 2015’s Beach Music, and now they bring him back for his eighth full length. Rocket brings gorgeous suburban logfire songs, folk pop with a city backdrop. On vinyl and CD.
- LP £18.99
- Sold out.
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- WIGLP398X / Limited indies only red coloured vinyl LP on Domino
- Includes download code
2 reviews. Add your own review.
Reading the early reviews of this record by prolific lo-fi guy Alex G has given me another example of how I feel totally isolated by the opinions of 99% of the worlds population. It's been getting sniffy sixes or sevens citing its all-over-the-shop experimentalism as being something of a failure. I do accept that there are skippable moments but there are two factors to consider 1) the good bits are extremely good and 2) I'm quite happy for an artist to take chances even if some of them don't work out.
There are several songs here that well exceed the best bits of Alex G's oeuvre so far. There's 'Proud' which is a lovely lollop- acoustic guitars and honky tonk pianos rattling along and a carefree melody that we can all enjoy. 'Bobby' too is exceptional - a beautiful countrified stagger with some seriously animated fiddle playing and an emotional lyric that sits somewhere in the sweet spot between Thinking Fellers and the Carter Family. My favourite though is 'Witch' which has all the mysterious majesty of those blurred bands I loved so much in the early '90s. It has something of Wing Tipped Sloat or World of Pooh. It tangles, it twists and if John Peel were alive he'd be playing it.
Ok so 'Horse' is a difficult two minutes to get through but still it's flying by the seat of it's pants off piste rhythms remind me of Disco Inferno on 'DI Go Pop'. 'Brick' is horrible but it's not long til 'Sportstar' - a lovely tune in which G does the impossible - makes autotune sound almost acceptable. 'Judge' sounds like Pinback so that's fine, then there's the exceedingly lovely instrumental country plod of 'Rocket' which will make you weep at it's beauty.
It's a wild ride but a thrilling one. Alex G never writes the same song twice and takes risks which eventually benefit us with a clutch of exquisite tunes. I love this record and it's probably my favourite thing all year.
9/10 gbar Customer review, 1st May 2018
To say that this album is peculiar would be an understatement. On ‘Rocket’, his eighth full-length (and second on a major label), Alexander Giannascoli, aka (Sandy) Alex G, has created what is a singer/songwriter record at heart, but he displays different personalities in each song in such a way that no two tracks are alike, yet somehow he creates a unifying fabric which makes this a proper album.
One of the best moments on ‘Rocket’ comes at the very beginning: After the first few lines of opening track “Poison Root", the murmured vocals give way to a beautiful and organic piano line backed by a wonderfully plucked banjo. It then brings us into “Proud” which is a wonderfully catchy song that grows on you instantly. It’s a brilliant country/folk jaunt with acoustic guitars and honky tonk pianos rattling along and an enjoyable carefree melody. Many of the songs have one-word titles to them, but it seems that each one reflects both a different genre and a different personality: “Bobby” is a beautiful Celtic-folk ballad complete with fiddle, guitars, and banjo, with Alex’s vocals sending an emotional message to a romantic partner. “'Sportstar' is a lovely R&B tune which could draw comparisons to Frank Ocean (an artist who Alex G has collaborated in the past). With its evocative lyrics about a one-sided relationship and simple, minimalistic bass, drum and piano lines, Alex also give an autotuned vocal performance that ACTUALLY makes the song better.
The title track is an exceedingly lovely piano/violin/guitar instrumental that’ll make you weep at its beauty, while “Witch” is a fairly bizarre track that bears a small resemblance to Radiohead. The only time Alex G makes any sort of surprising left turns is first on “Brick”, which is 2 minutes full of noise-inspired punk rock with screamed vocals and some electronic instrumentation in there as well, and then on “Judge” which sounds like one of those softer 90s grunge tracks (not too far away from Stone Temple Pilots). The album closes with “Guilty”, which sounds like a jazz/lounge jam with its layered vocals and jazzy drums meshing with the smooth saxophone and groovy bass lines.
It’s these sonic juxtapositions and rewarding risks throughout the album that makes ‘Rocket’ Alex G’s most developed and accomplished album yet, showing us that he is actually most comfortable when he’s far away from his comfort zone.
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- Rocket by Sandy (Alex G)
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