Pixx is the latest signing on 4AD, a young singer/songwriter echoing FKA Twigs and The XX. For her debut EP, she’s come fully formed and that’s to be celebrated. She has a moody, ethereal voice and deploys trap beats and reverby guitars all over the place. If that sounds like Lana Del Rey, she really isn’t, at least not yet. Tracks like ‘Flee’ are quieter than lead single ‘Fall In’ and ‘A Way To Say Goodbye’ by stripping the instrumentation down to double-tracked vocals, a low-pitched voice and echoing finger-clicks. It’s the best track, sounding like if Beach House took the guitars and drums away from their sound. It puts Pixx’s (real name: Hannah Rodgers) voice front and centre and her lyrics are more easily heard. She sings ‘I would offer us some time apart / but you know you’d only go and break my heart’ and ‘Out with the old / I’ll go’. It’s on this track where Pixx sounds most like Romy from the XX. It’s the kind of song that should go on forever, but it’s cut mercifully short at around 3 minutes.
The more you get into the EP, the better it gets. ‘Deplore’ is a faster track with Warpaint-like guitars echoing away in the background, funeral trumpets and a witchy-voice breakdown. Another vocal comparison I couldn’t shake off after listening ‘Deplore’ is Dido, of all people. Pixx sings ‘I’m sure there’s more to you than I deplore’ and ‘I tread so quietly / I’m bound to be ignored’. The trumpets are a brilliant addition to the track, extending the instrumentation beyond the drums and ghostly guitars. I only wish they were louder. Pixx closes the EP with a breath and I want to listen to the thing all over again.
The weaker tracks, ‘Fall In’ and ‘A Way To Say Goodbye’ are good still. ‘What can I do? I can’t please you’ Pixx sings in ‘Fall In’, the track with most single power. Pixx straddles the line between pop and underground, much like her contemporaries FKA Twigs and Lorde. Her lyrics are dark and brooding, but the hook in ‘Fall In’ suggests that Pixx has a place in pop. Similarly, ‘A Way To Say Goodbye’ has a trip-hop beat wrapped in reverb and strange noises. Thankfully, Pixx’s voice is never lost in the mix, which is what happens a lot with the XX-types that have spawned in the last few years.
Pixx is a great addition to the 4AD roster. Along with pop outcasts Ariel Pink, Grimes and Purity Ring she’s in good company. Her songwriting has come fully formed and Fall In comes with the anticipation and excitement that FKA Twigs EP 1 came with. Armed with a great voice and production skills Pixx is going to be an interesting act to watch over the next year.
Funnel Recommends: Flee / Deplore