Album Review: Elle Exxe – Love Fuelled Hate

By on Wednesday, 9th November 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Elle Exxe Love Fuelled Hate coverI’d not heard of Elle Exxe before taking up the assignment for this review, and chances are you might not have either. However, this is about to change. She’s just won the award for Best Female Solo Act at the Unsigned Music Awards and is steadily building a name for herself in the underground world of pop, if there’s such a thing as not-yet-popular pop.

There’s nothing shy or quiet about the Scottish-born singer. On her Facebook page, Elle’s music is described as “dirty pop”, and that’s a pretty good summary. At times, I can hear Katy Perry in Elle’s voice, and the pair also share a love for bright colours and quirky outfits. But there’s something much brasher and more experimental about Elle Exxe: there’s grit and toughness to her. For a debut album, ‘Love Fuelled Hate’ explores a range of musical styles, throwing electropop and indie rock sounds together along with spoken-word verses and vocals that verge on screaming.

Elle Exxe put the album together with the help of Joe Kearns (Ellie Goulding, Little Mix) who mixed the album, and mastered by John Davis (Lana Del Rey, Bat For Lashes). It was released last month, following the release of a bunch of singles since 2015. ‘Love Fuelled Hate’ is split into two halves: ‘Your Love…’ and ‘…My Hate’, with 7 tracks for each. Each half begins with a short track featuring a deep-voiced man mumbling in what sounds like Spanish, before Elle’s voice bursts onto the scene.

There’s also a bit of a musical difference in the two halves. The former is confident and loud at times, with gritty, soaring choruses, exemplified on ‘Lately’. This feel is subtler on other tracks with guitar and bass-led, mellower moments, like on ‘Sick’ and ‘White Lies’. The second half becomes futuristic and more eclectic in its droning synth and glitzy electro sounds. The lyrics also become darker, reflecting the hate aspect of the album. There’s lots of emotion packed into the tracks, From “Hate on my girl / and I’ll be hating on you”, on ‘Hating on You’, to Elle crying out “Jealousy won’t bring me down” on ‘Shoot’.

Some tracks stand out much more than others. ‘Home With You’ is one of those songs that feel like a pop hit the first time you hear it. It’s a glitzy, electropop track with the murmur of a guitar and drums, and puts Elle’s strong vocals on display. Then there’s ‘Lost in L.A.’, which is evocative of Charlie XCX, particularly in the chorus, with modified grinding guitar sounds whirring on the track, and the play-it-loud catchy chorus contrasted to the monotone drawl of the verses. Lyrics like “Ripped tights / shut up / I’m off my face” sum up the party-esque vibe of the track.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7dNitnJzYM[/youtube]

The album rounds up with ‘I Understand’, perhaps the softest song on the album, despite the grinding beat that starts up about 40 seconds in. The track and the album ends with Elle’s voice fading out as the melody quietens, and is a peaceful end to an artfully unpolished cacophony of a debut album. It’s a great way to end the album that feels like a story of falling out of love, falling apart and feeling hurt and angry, then coming to peace with what has happened.

You might think that you wouldn’t like Elle Exxe. But the more you listen, the more you will find yourself enjoying the tracks and appreciating Elle’s confident and explosive debut.

7.5/10

‘Love Fuelled Hate’, the debut album from Scottish-born singer/songwriter Elle Exxe, is out now on LX Records. For more on the artist on TGTF, go here.

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