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Alex G: God Save the Animals review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“Is this Christian rock?” my flatmate Sophie asks as Alex G’s album plays in our kitchen. This is a good question considering God Save the Animals’ title as well as its lyrical biblical references embedded throughout. Is it an album mediating faith? Or perhaps this is just Alex G being Alex G and playing around. He recently described all his songs as being “grotesque caricatures, a mess of what’s true and what’s not” in a recent Pitchfork interview, after all. Regardless of what is or isn’t true, the themes of redemption certainly add a maturity to this record that accompany a calming yet dynamic sound which seamlessly blends acoustic guitar and synthesisers.

In ‘S.D.O.S’, Alex G sings “God is my designer / Jesus is my lawyer”, and Sophie interjects again, “Why is he saying that?” This surreal humour builds the lyrical quality of the album and again informs its spiritual affectations. One theme intertwined with religion that crops up repeatedly on the album is innocence. In the opening song, ‘After All’, the singer-songwriter posits, ‘Were you young when you lost your innocence?’ Perhaps this is a rhetorical question as it is seemingly later answered on the fourth track, as he travels back in time in S.D.O.S, an American acronym for the second day of school. “Naked in my innocence / Tangled in my innocence” is catchily repeated to the point where it forms half the song’s lyrics.

God Save the Animals is arguably Alex G’s most ambitious album yet; following years of changing personas, switching between being (Sandy) Alex G and then back to Alex G, in addition to penning a film soundtrack in the meantime, this album is the product of years of development. On ‘Runner’ we see the allusions to Alex G’s Bowie-esque past selves as he closes the song “Yes, I have done a couple bad things”. This history, however, has ultimately culminated in Alex G arriving at the zenith of his sound with what is his ninth album.

Alex Giannascoli, the man behind Alex G, is a reputed internet musical hero, having risen through the ranks of MySpace and Bandcamp to becoming the king of normcore, a status that will only be solidified with this strong album. Notoriously scrupulous in the making of his music, the multi-instrumentalist quite literally pulls all the strings and still opts to write and demo from his own house rather than the studio. This process makes for a trademark Alex G album that is still nonetheless distinct from any other music he has previously released. The album feels markedly consistent in its sound and energy; its continuity is matched by its storytelling that certainly makes it one to prioritise listening to from start to finish, something increasingly rare in a world of streaming and TikTok music. It is in this sense that Alex G both retains the best of musical traditions whilst renovating them with his eclectic musical choices, love of synths and unflinchingly vulnerable lyrics.

Pitchfork link: https://pitchfork.com/features/profile/alex-g-god-save-the-animals-interview/