ALXNDR look like a threesome of boys out of a teen catalogue circa 1996. They’re all distressed jeans, dishevelled hair, flannel shirts, paisley and leather jackets. There’s Anth, the lead singer and guitarist, Drew the Drummer (good ring to that), and James on bass.
The Newcastle-based trio’s new single ‘Something New’ is a follow up to their debut EP ‘RWND’, and no, it isn’t a cover of opening song from the hit Disney movie High School Musical. It is, however, a sugar-sweet pop ballad. It’s got a light zingy guitar, third-above harmonies, and lyrics that make you imagine yourself driving down a non-descript, sepia-toned coast in a VW Kombi with a nondescript waif in the passenger seat. The word “you” carries out in harmony. You mean… me? I’m the waif? Sweeeeet.
While their image and their sound are a little incongruous, it’s certainly effective. Their UK tour this April opens with two nights at Garage in London, one of which has already sold out. There’s definitely something nice about the unassuming, sincere throwback to 90s pop sensibilities. Their 2015 music video for their song ‘Four A.M’ looks like it was ripped straight from an episode of Saved By The Bell. It’s complete with technicolour geometric shapes, and a guitarist/lead singer with a haircut just like Leo in Titanic. Their other 2015 song accompanied by a video, ‘Drive’, shows that the themes of love, camaraderie, and freedom on the open highways are constants. (You can find a more in depth review of their EP here.)
© 2015 ALXNDR
So, ALXNDR has a solitidy. They know who they are lyrically, musically, and aesthetically. Some reviews say they “embrace nostalgia”: I say they hunt nostalgia down in dark alleyways. Or, like, at least take Nostalgia out on a nice date. Romance Nostalgia a bit. Meet Nostalgia’s mum. Make sweet love to Nostalgia. Marry Nostalgia. Have babies and move to the suburbs with Nostalgia. That sort of thing. They’re described as “90s infused Alternative Pop”, but what you’ll find is a true renewal of 90s pure pop, improved by more… contemporary sensibilities.
Their new edgier press images belie their sound, which is smooth and easy on the ears. While they play around with production effects that have apparently gone from being tacky to retro, like distorted echoes after the chorus that sound like something by Aaron Carter, they’re really more streamlined than that. Pure and simple, nothing extraneous: no nonessential vowels, obviously, and likewise no nonessential pretention.
‘Something New’ is available on Soundcloud on February 19th. You can stream their debut EP ‘RWND’ on Spotify and buy it on iTunes.
ALXNDR’s April tour still has tickets available all over the UK. At the time of writing, their website appears to be down, but check out their Facebook for more details.