Review: Rex Orange County – ‘New House’

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80%
80
Effortlessly Cool

With strong lyrics and production, Rex Orange County has once again demonstrated his talent as an alternative artist.

At just twenty years old, Alex O’Connor, better known as British musician Rex Orange County, is causing waves in the alternative music scene. He is both an upbeat and smart addition to the industry, and I would argue that every song he has released thus far is incredibly strong production-wise and lyrically.

‘New House’ is his latest single, reminiscent of his fantastic 2017 album Apricot Princess, one of the most collectively strong albums I’ve listened to in the past few years. Perhaps the most impressive thing about ‘New House’ is its breadth as a song – it starts quite simply with a few simple piano chords and O’Connor’s unique vocal tone, somehow always keeping his voice somewhere between rap and singing. The affect of this is that it makes the track feel unbelievably cool – I would not be surprised if Rex Orange County recorded ‘New House’ in one take in his living room. As the song builds, the use of piano, drums, synth, strings and background instrumentation is solid especially when combined with his voice’s strength – it has improved greatly in the past two years – and is enough to support the build-up of instruments.

His lyrics are just as strong and clever too, particularly during the discussion of more personal topics on what would otherwise appear as a completely upbeat song: “If it weren’t for you I would’ve stayed here for weeks / And the bed is just upstairs, the only place I feel peace”. The range of production and lyrics during the track is perhaps more reflective of his mindset, fairly confused and simultaneously optimistic but wary of the uncertainty of the future. The only criticism I would have of the song is the ending – I would have ended on a more climactic build-up of instruments, rather than just drifting off into nothing. This choice unfortunately makes the song feel like it has a purpose all the way through until the very end.

Despite this, Rex Orange County has once again demonstrated his fantastic ability as both a lyricist and musician. The production is fantastic and shows how he is simply getting better and better. At only 20 years old, I am very excited for when he releases a full length album.

‘New House’ is available now via Rex Orange County.

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A lazy and dramatic fourth year English student who also edits News in position of News Editor. Lover of tea, Netflix and reading all the books.

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