There’s something that’s always been a bit magical about (Sandy) Alex G. Having started his nascent music career by self-releasing DIY tapes on Bandcamp, he’s slowly grown into a more fully-formed, cohesive musical entity. Nine records later, he doesn’t quite record entirely by himself, but the DIY ethos isn’t lost. On ‘House of Sugar’, he’s potentially the most expansive he’s ever been. While his previous releases came about through relatively quick songwriting and production, the Philadelphia-based musician had been penning songs for ‘House of Sugar’ since 2017, and the album features an array of musicians, soundscapes and textures to add to its strange, twisting, and ethereal world.
The 26-year-old’s ninth release is peculiar, drifting between worlds of folk rock to electronic while still straddled in his familiar language of indie rock. The characters that make up the album drift in and out of narrative, with the narrator himself - (Sandy) Alex G - seeming to flit back and forth as both an observer and cast member. Tracks such as ‘Gretel’ and ‘In My Arms’ are melodic and ever so slightly romantic, but discordant numbers like ‘Sugar’ and ‘Bad Man’ are so delightfully strange and weird that you can’t help but want to live in his weird universe. “Music makes me wanna do bad things,” he sings on ‘In My Arms’, but you don’t know which side of good or evil the character is on. This state of philosophical ambiguity and the push and pull of boundaries - much like the genres of music ‘House of Sugar’ explores - is the heart of the record. (Sandy) Alex G has always crossed the lines between the reality and the fantastical, and on ‘House of Sugar’, the strangeness of it all is so delightful that you can’t help but come back for more.