Fresh Music Friday: Annie Hamilton, Eliza and the Delusionals, Alex the Astronaut
Apologies to all Harrys, but today’s Fresh Music Friday belongs to the Alexs – specifically, Alex Dent, Alex Vardanega, and Alexander Glase (or Alex³) who will be artfully assisting us along our adventure into the airy abyss of today’s anthems.
Labyrinth – Annie Hamilton
Alex D: Beautifully chaotic! ‘Labyrinth’ very easily convinces you to listen to the rest of Annie Hamilton’s newest album. I absolutely adore the very industrial-esque introduction, it creates an incredibly dark and moody tone that continues throughout. Hamilton’s hazy vocals soar over the contrastingly clunky and brash backing, creating a dynamic and captivating track. I would’ve appreciated more variety as I felt that the distinction between the verses and chorus were often vague and felt quite same-ish. At times the backing can feel almost static and repetitive, but this is easily countered by the dreamy backing vocals and poetic lyricism. Being previously unfamiliar with Annie Hamilton, this track has easily persuaded me to explore the rest of her discography!
Alex G: My favourite track of the week: I get the faintest hint of Moby from the rhythm of the drums and the electronic underscore. The vocals are so thick and do the biting lyrics service; even the overlaid backing sounds full despite being relatively quiet. This would do nicely on a second breakup playlist, the one in-between the abject misery songs and the glow-up headbangers.
Alex V: Thought this was a great track to kick-start the weekend. Loved the way Annie melds different stylistic elements together like The crunchy arpeggiating synth, which felt like it came off a Cut Copy b-side, with the calm and steady vocal melody. Perfect song to soundtrack this weekends club endeavours.
Now and Then – Eliza and the Delusionals
Alex G: The vocal talent on this track is impressive, showing off their range without wavering at the top end. Lyrically, it plods along a bit and doesn’t offer anything particularly original (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). The payoff at the end is good, but I feel like the instrumental backing could have gone for it a bit more to keep up with the vocals.
Alex V: I adored the sense of atmosphere the opening had, that droning keyboard and light kit work wonders. Eliza’s vocal line fits very well with the rest of the track and really liked the little bursts of psych guitar here and there. My only critique is the “B” section kinda felt a bit bland. A new drum pattern, instrument or key change would have made it more distinctive. Overall, I really liked the track and think it’s a great final track for the new album.
Alex D: Absolutely obsessed with these clean and crisp vocals! The track’s sound is quintessential dreamy bedroom pop – think syrupy vocals, slightly distorted guitars and a lot of reverb. I am a big fan of the song’s slightly melancholy and pessimistic lyricism, it juxtaposes nicely with the upbeat melodic lines. My main criticism would be that it feels almost derivative of the dream-pop/indie genre. The song feels almost too familiar – very reminiscent of many other hazy pop tunes. Aside from that, it is certainly a tune appropriate for a late-night drive with some friends! 🙂
Haircut – Alex the Astronaut
Alex V: The amazing Alex the Astronaut is back with just the song we need for a gloomy day like today. The single feels like I’ve been teleported to a summer festival and has a really upbeat/happy-go-lucky feel to it. Loved the little orchestral elements that come through in the 2nd chorus.
Alex D: Whilst Alex the Astronaut’s whimsical and infectious sound is not my style, I can acknowledge that this is a very fun and self-aware track. Cleverly sampling the iconic ‘pedestrian crossing’ sound, ‘Haircut’ does not take itself seriously and is imbued with humour and eccentricity. For me, the lyricism is far too explicit and at times feels almost clichéd – the references to pop culture and vaguely relatable experiences feel naff or a bit on-the-nose.
Alex G: This exudes positivity, especially the pre-choruses and the sound effects throughout (like the pedestrian crossing noise during a lyric about “streets”) which give the song some polished fun. It’s a playful track that I wouldn’t skip when shuffling my library but I don’t know if I’d add it to a playlist. ‘Airport’ is still my favourite single from her new album (which is a TUNE, by the way), and I think Haircut might bleed a little into Alex’s discography, but maybe I’ll change my mind on re-listen.