I first discovered Alex G through a split EP with Orchid Tapes label mate R.L Kelly, a beautiful collection of honest, charming, lo- fi gems that had me instantly swearing allegiance to both artists. His delivery, lyrical content and even his distribution ethic reminiscent of a distant pen pal sending well-wishing messages of reassurance. After the release of 2014’s DSU, he’s been deservedly gaining much recognition; after gracing the pages of Rolling Stone and being signed to Domino, the stakes have indeed changed from his previous method of channelling songs directly from his head to his Bandcamp following. This is, after all, the first of his releases to have a ‘mastered by’ credit.
Thankfully, from opener Intro onwards, the aesthetic is largely the same: self-recorded, reflective and homely (imagine an infinitely more listenable Daniel Johnston). The increased pressure of a bigger label and fan base combined with the time spent touring seems to have made the songsmith more deliberate in his lyrical and musical content. Bug is as warm and familiar as any of his work, though the most evident progression begins at Thorns his overlapping guitar lines and resonant synth parts seem to evolve and change with more intention than previous releases.
Swelling with reverberant, chorus-laden guitars and off-kilter, Pavement-esque flavours, efforts such as Salt and Station are a true musical embodiment of the album’s title – gorgeous melodies and rolling drum machines that fans of Mac Demarco would love, with washed-out vocals carrying them ashore.
And yet there’s an elegancy – fragility, even – that threads the album together. The piano- and trumpet-led In Love is one of the most sonically frail songs Giannascoli has made to date, its quivering vocals a testament to what lies ahead in his already expansive and impressive body of work. Snot, contrary to its moniker, is another delicate and stunning addition to an already captivating collection of songs. Through its timings and instrumental layers, the album closer functions as a perfect example of what makes Alex G such a treasure: poetic, painfully honest and musically irresistible.
Undoubtedly the most diverse album to date, fans won't have to traipse through their iTunes when deciding which Alex G to listen to. Another solid release from another graduate of Bandcamp infamy.
Words: Jake Williams