An artist who matches their prolificacy with sheer talent, while continuing to push the boundaries is always guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows in the music realm. (Sandy) Alex G, formerly known as Alex G, has done just that for the past few years as he gained traction on Bandcamp after uploading his bedroom recorded albums up onto the platform. Although, a record deal from Domino Records has certainly bolstered his following, (Sandy) Alex G, born Alexander Giannascoli, continues with his same method of album production with the addition of some deeper experimentation on his eighth record, ‘Rocket’.
The album starts with ‘Poison Root’, a track that sounds like it could be the big brother to his previous album ‘Beach Music’. A more mature and refined sound is displayed, right from the onset, with the introduction of extra instrumentation from a violin and a banjo, which feature multiple times on the album. The next few tracks follow in a similar vein, with the crux of this particular ‘country’ sound being showcased in ‘Bobby’, a beautiful track featuring the fiddle playing of frequent collaborator Emily Yacina. A love song at heart, Giannascoli sings a duet with Yacina, where he explains “But I lost my way/I’ve made my mess/I’d clean it for you/if you want me to”. These are some of the more direct lyrics from the album and they resonate nicely on the track.
Giannascoli is no stranger to experimentation, and on the standout track ‘Witch’, he takes the album in quite a different direction with the track showing some clear psychedelic influences with his vocals being bathed in some delay and reverb.
Again, the album takes another considerable turn on ‘Horse’, a frenzied and ominous instrumental piece that sets the tone for the following track, ‘Brick’. Featuring heavily distorted guitars and yelling vocals from Giannascoli, ‘Brick’ is the pinnacle of energy on the album.
The latter half of the album sees Giannascoli return to typical sounds and moods that have come to characterise his music. The lyrics in ‘Big Fish’ display Giannascoli’s thoughts on growing older or obtaining fame as he playfully says “Don’t ask me questions pa/You know I’m a big old fish now”.
Stylistically, ‘Rocket’ jumps around immensely, leaving you questioning how some of these tracks coexist on the same album. However, this happens to be one of the strengths of the record, as Giannascoli essentially ‘descends into madness’ in the middle of the album, before coming up to breathe and becoming more reflective and quizzical at the tail end. ‘Rocket’ represents quite a significant step forward for Giannascoli as he continues to experiment with new production techniques and instrumentation on his most introspective and thought provoking album yet.
‘Rocket’ is out now via Domino Records.