Alex G’s ‘God Save the Animals’ Is a Revolution in Indie Music

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Alex G has always been weird. Before going viral on Tiktok was a musician’s quickest path to fame, the indie singer-songwriter followed an earlier internet music career pattern, one that unfolded on band campa online music service Platform. Recording, producing and self-releasing music from his bedroom before signing with Orchid Tapes in 2014, Alex G is an independent artist through and through – and one of a kind. Although his sound has inevitably progressed since his debut in 2010 Race, the distinctive eccentricity of its indie folk and rock sound has remained constant. Now, eight albums and more than a decade later, Alex G manages to innovate again on god save the animalsa startlingly unconventional collection of songs that leaves the listener at once curious, unsettled and hopeful.

god save the animals marks a change for Alex G: this is his first album to be made in a recording studio. While the Switch is highlighted by its careful craftsmanship, god save the animals retains that touch of moody, heartfelt weirdness that makes Alex G’s work so special.

As the title suggests, religious themes permeate the album’s 13 songs, starting with the very first lyrics of the album’s opener, “After all.” Alex G sings, “People come and people go / Yeah, but God with me he stayed.” Biblical references such as “the flood” in the eerily repetitive “Blessing” and a “life of revelation” in orchestral “Immunity” unfold brazenly alongside themes of drug addiction, self-doubt and a sense of unexpected optimism. On “Miracles”, an acoustic track singular in its lightness, inspired by bluegrass, Alex G brings these subjects together to create the thematic center of the album: “You and me, we have better pills than ecstasy / They are miracles and crosses, miracles and crosses.

The diversity of subject matter on the album reflects his varied musical influences. Signature Alex G vocal modulation returns on tracks like “Ain’t It Easy” and “Forgive,” while extreme distortion on “SDOS” has the listener singing an underwater serenade. The raucous hyperpop auto setting is paired with piano melodies fitting the bill of a 2000s pop ballad on “Immunity.” “Runner” has a loose ’90s alt-rock sound straight out of the One Tree Hill soundtrack, while “Mission” sounds like something out of the Christian rock station you stumble upon while traveling.

The remarkable match between the album’s lyrical content and its sound is Alex G’s bread and butter. In a interview with Pitchfork shortly before the album’s release, he explained his use of vocal effects: “I try to represent the thing physically instead of just saying the words and hoping the listener will come back to the picture.” The idea of ​​music as material illustration rather than mere descriptor is evident on an album teeming with sounds that are both inventive and quintessential to the indie genre, like the distorted female vocals of “Headroom Piano” reminiscent of a TV Girl song , the strum unleashes the cool drum pattern and rhythm of “Ain’t It Easy” or the piercing, lingering buzz that takes us from the end of “Cross the Sea” to the start of “Blessing.”

But although some sound elements lean towards nostalgia, god save the animals is mostly forward facing. In a world where anyone with WiFi can be an independent artist, Alex G manages to once again distinguish himself in the genre, creating something entirely new on god save the animals. And with the futurism of the album comes longevity. As one Genius.com user said in a comment on “Early Morning Waiting”, “this song already feels like it’s going to be an indie classic in a few years.” With his singles from ten years ago become Tiktok Hitsit’s clear that Alex G’s music has lasting power.

Drawing inspiration from his contemporaries across a range of genres, from the folk sensibilities of Bon Iver to 100 gecs hyperpop, god save the animals is a quiet revolution in indie music, pushing the genre forward rather than looking back. If that sounds weird, it’s just that Alex G is doing what he does best.

Nina Smith, Daily Arts Contributor, can be reached at [email protected].

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