Philadelphia’s (Sandy) Alex G has always made music that people were down to get down to. With some of the strongest songs written in his career, his music has never been the type to contain the word “challenging.” On his new release House of Sugar though, that’s the best way to describe what you’ll get. The music is well written and performed, it is his most ambitious project to date, but the songs are full of so much per track that it may be difficult for many who hear it to get into.
The album is heavily textured in moments, so much so that to a casual ear the music may seem polarizing. The way the album opens on “Walk Away” with essentially howls in the vocals, the blown out touches of sound and an acoustic all make for a sound that will come off as genius to audiophiles, but may make it impossible to tread through for someone getting introduced to the artist. The layered pieces of instrumentation on the tracks make for an intriguing grace of the ears, while most of the songs have enough of a pop sheen on them to feel more acceptable.
The way all of the instruments on “Southern Sky” feel like they’re being played with reason, the offbeat vocals on “Gretel, or even the experimental stabs on “Taking” all take your head to a new place. But while the album has steady mixture of multiple genres being intertwined for one sound, it all seems to work when it works and fall flat when it doesn’t. The album isn’t obtuse but rather so meticulously crafted, that House of Sugar could just be a couple of years too early for it to hit like it deserves.
House of Sugar can be streamed on all platforms, it can be purchased in all digital outlets or it can be bought physically directly from Domino Records. (Sandy) Alex G is on tour beginning October 17 at Black Cat in Washington, DC until March 06, 2020 at Vera in Groningen, Netherlands. His complete tour itinerary can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Tonje Thilesen.