While the debut album from Pixx can be most consistently described as synth pop, The Age of Anxiety is stylistically varied. Across its twelve tracks, the album plays in multiple genres at once, most remarkably dream pop and shoegaze. The result is a sonically dense album, mature beyond Pixx’s twenty-one years.
Pixx is the moniker of Hannah Rodgers from Chipstead, south of London, England. She released her first EP Fall In in mid-2015 on renowned indie label 4AD. Preceded by singles Baboo, Grip, I Bow Down, and Waterslides, The Age of Anxiety is Pixx’s inward-looking commentary on the contemporary political and social climate.
The Age of Anxiety takes its title from W.H. Auden’s final long poem of the same name. Auden’s poem is a meditation on fears and doubts in the era’s geopolitical climate. Pixx ruminates on present day society on variegated pop track Everything Is Weird In America and on mid-tempo shoegaze track Telescreen, but her commentary is at its best when it is coupled with introspection.
On album opener I Bow Down, Pixx delves into her own uncertainties and contemplates their source as a means of understanding the present era. I Bow Down blends tinkling synth with heavy guitar as a backdrop for her expansive vocals.
Grip is about experiencing the shifts of time. She sings on the chorus, “I don’t want to feel the need to grip on tight to everything I see.” Instead, she wants to experience the ebbs and flows of time without fear of change. With its chattering opening vocals, Grip is reminiscent of the production on Grimes‘ album Art Angels. While Waterslides is based on one of the artists childhood anxiety dreams, its sound is uptempo electro-pop.
Fuzzy guitar on the verses of Baboo forms the backdrop for layers synth and handclaps on the euphoric chorus. Pixx sings, “I feel fine!” The result is the most fun track on the album. Therein lies what makes The Age of Anxiety so compelling: Pixx deftly addresses the present day political climate and her anxious response to it while still creating fun, engaging synth pop music. With an EP and an LP under her belt, she has the potential to become an articulate voice that proves there’s a market for intelligent pop in the present day.