(Sandy) Alex G: House of Sugar (Domino) - Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, November 18th, 2019  

(Sandy) Alex G

House of Sugar

Domino

Sep 25, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


The creative trajectory of Philadelphia's Alex Giannascoli is, at times, overwhelming. For the last decade, under the moniker Alex G (and then eventually (Sandy) Alex G), Giannascoli has been an exemplary force of DIY indie-rock via an endless flood of Bandcamp releases—tallying up to eight studio albums, two EPs, one split EP, and a live album from Third Man. And this is only what has been tracked via various databases—the odds are, Giannascoli has released much, much more. After signing to Domino in 2015, and releasing the much-acclaimed Rocket in 2017, (Sandy) Alex G has finally ascended to a comfortable spot in the top realm of working indie musicians. 

There is an inherit mystique attached to Giannascoli; mostly shy of social media, his mythos has come from both the oldest and newest platforms of cultural diffusion: word of mouth and the Internet. And this is the precise balance you hear in his music, too—acoustic guitars and beautiful vocal melodies, always intertwined with some form of electronica or disruptive noise. His latest studio album, House of Sugar, could be his best. This is no small feat for an artist who has improved upon every one of their releases. 

Perfecting that specific formula, House of Sugar resides in a musical space which is bizarrely singular; there are catchy, lovable folk songs ("Hope," "Cow," "In My Arms"), brooding, moody guitar-rock songs that borrow a recipe or two out of the '90s slowcore cookbook ("Taking," "Crime"), and glorious, glitched-out electronics ("Near," "Project 2"). For an artist who has released predominantly guitar-oriented music, when Giannascoli breaches territory where he deploys synthesizers and samples, it doesn't feel like a novel one-off—it's the sound of an artist expanding their creative vision. 

House of Sugar tilts its cap at longtime (Sandy) Alex G fanatics, while opening a wide space for newcomers to dive into. It masters the somber, folk-rock which fills so much of his discography, while aromas of country, Americana, and mild electronica swirl around, breathtakingly so. Whoever said indie-rock had to change in the year 2019 is sadly mistaken—it didn't have to change, only improve. In Giannascoli's hands, I'd say we're safe for the long haul. (www.sandyalexg.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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