Album Review: Pixel Fix – Running Thin EP

By on Thursday, 7th August 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Back in the spring, Pixel Fix supported Young Kato, Made in Chelsea’s current darlings and a band I had high hopes for when I’d first written about them in 2012. At the time when I posted about the tour in February, I’d heard a couple bits from the Oxfordshire quartet and reckoned a huge programming mistake had been when they were chosen as support. A good 6 months out from then and listening to their latest release, the selection doesn’t seem as crazy as I had previously thought. Out this week, ‘Running Thin’ is an intriguing set of four songs, none really much like one another. Which is actually a good thing in my book. It’s a sign they’re a band of many talents.

The EP starts strongly with ‘Lungs’. It’s got a tropical vibe that is Friendly Fires-esque but the feel is more synth than bass driven, yet not as synthy as Polarsets. The at times staccatoing lyrics sung on irregular beats by Marcus Yates not unlike the style of Little Comets‘ Rob Coles except pop enough like that of Liam Creamer’s of Hey Sholay or Will Daunt’s of Zulu Winter (RIP) to allow for airplay on Huw Stephens’ Radio 1 programme. Okay, I know that’s a lot of band names to be bandying about, but it’s been bothering me that this song sounds like several groups I am quite fond of and it’s stirring up old memories and to be sure, they’re good ones that should serve Pixel Fix well in pursuing fans of any and all of these bands.

Second track ‘Change This’ is an interesting change from ‘Lungs’, as with its finger snaps and lounge-y vocals, it sees the band go towards a r&b jam, so it also has the potential for mainstream appeal. The synths are still there of course, but they’re left for background atmosphere as the focal point is Yates’ voice. ‘Still’ allows Pixel Fix to go back to their dreamier, more ambient roots. Barely over 2 minutes, it could have gone on much longer and us indie and electronic heads wouldn’t have batted an eye as what sounds like owls hooting lie underneath a catchy guitar line and ghostly synths, while those fingers keep a-snapping. The synths are then messed about with and compressed and stretched in EP closer ‘Overflow’; this one also has with finger snaps, but interestingly it seems to bridge the distance between ‘Lungs’ and ‘Change This’. The song has elements of pop but Yates’ voice isn’t frenetic, the notes gliding smoothly like skates across an ice rink.

The question is, then, where do Pixel Fix go from here? They clearly have a way with ambient soundscapes, while also doing well in the pop and r&b songwriting departments. Any one of these directions could lead the band to mainstream success.

8/10

Pixel Fix’s latest EP ‘Running Thin’ is out now on Owlbear Records but for now, you can stream the EP below to your heart’s content.

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