Allie X
Girl With No Face


3.6
great

Review

by A.R.O. STAFF
March 8th, 2024 | 24 replies


Release Date: 02/23/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Xx1980sNVRdiexX

Now I don't know about you, but I'm starting to worry that the 80s will never die. Those who might've hoped the decade would take a bow after the 2010s see a never-ending stream of nostalgia-fueled knockoffs (in music, TV, really just everything) continuing well into the 2020s. Listen, as much as I'd like to say that originality is overrated and raw talent is the only thing that matters, it's absolutely tiring to see the same synth-laden indie album come out every year and be told it's the next Robyn. Case NOT in point, Canadian-born pop artist Allie X (Alexandra Hughes) is certainly NOT the next Robyn and isn't even trying to be. While Girl with No Face is undoubtedly inspired by everything 80s, the thrill of Hughes' approach lives and dies on how smoothly it can mix the moodiest tendencies of that decade with her modern pop sensibilities. The record is stacked with skeletal but spacious synth-goth tracks rife with icy beats and glam influences, and it starts with the very best.

"Weird World" kicks the record off in pitch-perfect style; it's a hugely danceable offering haunted by plunking post-punk guitars, complete with an anthemic chorus that condenses our uncertain times into just a few angry lines. "I live in a weird world / Yeah, it's sad but it's true / Maybe you can't see it / But you live in one too," might seem trite until you're belting them out your car window to your shitty neighbors. The title track is a different trick altogether, slowly snaking along with a funky drumbeat and sassy bass lines before fully taking off with venomous glam-inspired guitars and Hughes' towering vocal performance—which quickly stands out as a recurring highlight for the record. In fact, "Off with Her Tits" would ultimately flounder in balancing its savage satire with its deeply personal tale of body dysmorphia (let alone manage to lose itself in its delirious dancefloor antics) if it weren't for her hissing, cartwheeling, and highly animated vocal performance gluing its joyful fury together.

Even in the least exciting offerings, her voice is good company. When the album comes to a screeching halt with tired new wave offering "John and Jonathan," and when you're subjected to her most "y tho ?" impulses on awkward centerpiece "Hardware Software," it's still plain to hear that she's at least enjoying herself. In fact, on "Black Eye" her vocals are so fiery that it sounds like she's singing karaoke over the song's frozen synthesizers until the song warms up in the back half. Despite almost every song ending as a bop, it sometimes takes so long to get there that the whole LP can feel like one big mid-tempo vibe sesh, especially when leaning on its modern influences in the back half. That late-album bag of treats contains the Lana-esque "Saddest Smile," which amplifies all the album's moodiness to a nearly ridiculous degree, and "Staying Power," which combines a steady disco beat with the bad-girl-pop energy of her contemporaries into a surprisingly effective dance track that somehow belongs in a Universal monster movie.

In the end, this is a pop album, a dance album, and moment-to-moment it's fun as fuck. There's a short but absolutely charming moment on the closer "Truly Dreams" where Hughes' synthscape hazes over and begins chirping in harmony with a chorus of Allies to mimic the serenity of a tropical island, then gently phases into a western soundscape complete with a twangy guitar and chiming chords. This happens in a matter of seconds without significantly altering the song's pace, beat, or main riff, and quickly doubles back into a chorus. This tiny moment exhibits how Allie X nails these subtle contrasts in composition to play familiar elements against each other—key to any great pop artist. And while the 80s are a well-trodden playground, Girl with No Face proves there are infinite ways to make old ideas new by contrasting them with the now.



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user ratings (73)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
neekafat
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2024


26060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

"Girl with No Face": youtube.com/watch?v=qPBPEtluGJg



this bops !

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2024


32015 Comments


80s will never die and I'll make sure it doesn't happen ;)

Great review Mr. Staff.

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2024


26060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

thank you Sir Dewi (:

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2024


4709 Comments


neek's first staff rev woo! And it's succinct, comprehensive and most importantly fun to read!

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2024


26060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

thanks so much dude!! wanted this to be a good one

bloc
March 9th 2024


69953 Comments


Agreed with the rating, this was getting crazy overrated on RYM when it initially came out.

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2024


26060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Partly why I wanted to review lol, but theres some really great stuff here

Koris
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2024


21109 Comments


I see the Robyn edit stuck ;]

Great review! And I definitely agree regarding the 80s sentiment, it's crazy how many artists are still riding that wave to this day. But at least people like Beabadoobee and Olivia Rodrigo are making it big off 90s aesthetics, so not everyone is still trapped in the previous decade lol

Colton
March 10th 2024


15211 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is pretty good but idk if this sharp and pointy synthpop style is really for me

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
March 10th 2024


26060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

@koris yknow it (; and yes I'm definitely excited to see the 90s getting their licks in! hopefully the 30-year-culture-cycle will continuing turning



@colt that's a good distinction, but i think she wears the thorns well

markjamie
March 10th 2024


684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've been really enjoying this; the synths are catchy and the vocals are great. It's somewhat overrated by some I think (reminding me a little of the Mercurial World hysteria) but it's a solid effort.

Colton
March 10th 2024


15211 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

album sounds vastly different than mercurial world

markjamie
March 10th 2024


684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I didn't say they sounded the same (despite sharing the synth-pop genre), I made the point that they were both over-praised.

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
March 10th 2024


596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is a banger

Purpl3Spartan
March 10th 2024


8473 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is ok nice rev

dedex
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2024


12775 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2 | Sound Off

aight great job for a first staff rev neeka!!!!!!

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2024


5442 Comments


hell yeah lfg staff neek!!
i jammed this twice and quite enjoyed it but also do not remember a single thing o no

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2024


26060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Thanks yall!! And yeah this is definitely a bit forgettable lol but it does slap

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2024


60250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Despite almost every song ending as a bop, it sometimes takes so long to get there that the whole LP can feel like one big mid-tempo vibe sesh"



accurate - almost every song ends up sticking the landing, but makes you work uncommonly hard to get there for an Album Full Of Bops (however edgy at points). start of every song feels like a sudden slump in energy that I don't really love across the whole thing (worst was when "Galina" had me in a /groove/ only for "Hardware Software" to abruptly ruin my whole week)



> It's somewhat overrated by some I think (reminding me a little of the Mercurial World hysteria)



also accurate, though less pronounced for this one

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2024


5442 Comments


it's kind of a shame, 'regulars' off her last album was catchy as all hell but everything else was kinda whatever, this is all good but also somehow all forgettable??



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