Released on 9th October via Domino
Although speckled with occasional moments of sonic brilliance, a blatant sense of tiredness is sadly what stands out most on Alex G’s newest LP, Beach Music, his first major label release.
Alex Giannascoli has made a name for himself as a lo-fi icon, with this being his seventh release in five years. Last year’s DSU, his first record under a label (Brooklyn-based Orchid Tapes) saw his popularity levels explode. It was always going to be a difficult one to follow.
Opening track ‘Intro’ gives little indication of what’s ahead. 50 seconds of dark, trippy noise fade in and out, before ‘Bug’, one of the three tracks released as singles, brings the listener back to what they’d expect from the 21-year-old.
The record focuses on experimentation, instrumentally and production-wise. Radiating an almost extended jam-session vibe, Rhodes-esque keys and funky drums open ‘Salt’ with a tasteful, Latino feel. Harmonics and mathematical guitar riffs repeat, under depressing, moaned lyrics. Pitch-shifted vocals add a weirdness to tracks, with the lyrics, “bug in a crosshair” repeated in a chipmunk style during the outro of ‘Bug’.
‘Brite Boy’, with its call and response vocals, feels like an uncomfortable primary school sing-along, before an odd, riff-stacked outro takes over.
With the album barely passing the half-hour mark, many of the tracks live up to their snappy, single word names. ‘Look Out’ sounds like a demo recording, leaving the listener itching to hear more.
‘Walk’ again returns to a more minimalistic style, this time in instrumental form. However, repeated ideas begin to show cracks in Giannascoli’s song-writing skills. By the time you reach the tenth track, ‘Mud’, these recycled ideas start to lose their grasp on your attention.
Although all the lo-fi elements are there, disappointingly, Beach Music does not possess that minimalistic style his niche audience craves. This record doesn’t feel like it was created due to necessity or ease, but more as a tool in order to show off. Occasional coughs in the background keep you reminded of just how ‘lo-fi’ this guy wants to remain. We get it Mr. G, one mic is all you need.