Published Oct 09, 2015Philadelphia's Alex Giannascoli came into public consciousness last year with a self-recorded album called DSU, courtesy of Brooklyn boutique label Orchid Tapes. Only 21 at the time, it was his sixth full-length, but first to break him out of his bedroom, where he famously made his DIY recordings. Interest in Giannascoli grew significantly, and Domino won the bidding war.
Luckily, on Alex G's seventh album, Beach Music, he hasn't changed his routine much; he's still recording on his computer, employing all the inventive tricks and nonsensical decisions that always seem to work in his favour. "Bug," for example is conventional acoustic guitar strumming that builds into a multilayered jumble, capped off by silly but satisfying pitch-shifted vocals. The Elliott Smith-tinged melancholy of "Thorns" is surprisingly unglamorous by comparison, but this straightforward side of his may open doors for him in years to come. It's when he goes full eccentric, however, that Alex G makes his mark, using a weeping sax and piano combo for the pitiful ballad "In Love," or uniting avant-garde drumming and shifting his vocals down deep to channel a down-and-out rapper for "Station," where he really flashes his ingenuity.
Most of what Giannascoli does on Beach Music shouldn't work this well; it should be a disjointed, unintelligible mess. But he has somehow mastered the art of eccentric, seemingly contradictory songwriting, and it's a beautiful thing to hear. (Domino)