EP Review: Alex the Astronaut – ‘See You Soon’
There’s a strong trend in today’s Aussie rock scene of tough, no-nonsense women fronting bands that, maybe only a few years ago, would have almost exclusively been led by blokes. It’s a welcome and long overdue change.
On her second EP, See You Soon, Alex the Astronaut sounds ready to take that shift and make it her own. Like some of her contemporaries, Alex favours lyrical topics that aren’t necessarily impressive, cool or likely to incite envy among listeners. Unlike many of her peers, however, Alex manages to address these subjects with such honesty and fearlessness as to connect on a level beyond a casual, “that happens to me too!” relatability.
See You Soon hints at a progressive shift away from generic ‘singer/songwriter/guitarist’ fare, as Alex delves into a diverse and eclectic array of sounds and styles. For one, the production on New York shows off more groove than we’d have anticipated, based on her past releases.
Reflector sounds way more indie-rock than it does folk, opening the door to some welcome variety on this journey of off-the-cuff storytelling. Interestingly, the title itself is a nod to Arcade Fire‘s album (and song) of the same name, connecting them by more than just their style.
Like her contemporaries, Alex doesn’t hold back on lyrical topics that aren’t necessarily impressive, cool or likely to incite envy among listeners.
What Sydney Looks Like, again, highlights that most appealing side of Alex’s attitude. References to backdrop areas, such as Pyrmont, are hardly likely to invoke images of grandeur, or even recognition on her American uni campus, but that’s not what she’s here to do. She is trying to remind us to find the joy in real life, in our own worlds.
By now, the nation is familiar with her extremely timely anthem, Not Worth Hiding. When most of us were introduced to Alex via her Like A Version performance, it didn’t sound like more debate or bandwagoning. It sounded like a young woman who had the bravery to publicly reflect on her own experiences and share the life-saving truth she had found.
Alex speaks to something more hopeful than the melancholy unity espoused by other artists. Though, at first, it may sound like youthful innocence, further investigation of her story reveals the true, inspiring muse behind her music; finding joy. At 21, she is older than her sweet-sounding indie tunes indicate, and she has faced her share of hardship.
It’s refreshing to hear this type of vibrancy in a style of music so often reserved for the deadpan or melancholy. See You Soon is an uplifting and worthwhile listen, with enough hints of variety in her textures and tones to have us curious what she will sound like next. No matter what she makes, it’s guaranteed to bring a smile to the faces of her listeners.
See You Soon is out now.