- 16 Mar 22
Let’s talk about Rex.
Twenty-three year-old Alexander O’Connor, aka Rex Orange County, rocketed to fame after appearing on Tyler The Creator’s 2017 LP, Flower Boy. Having hurriedly released Apricot Princess that same year, 2019’s Pony cemented his indie status. Now, he’s with Who Cares?, applying the same formula, with an additional emphasis on orchestral strings.
Equal parts heart-wrenching and optimistic, the album begins with the jaunty bop of ‘Keep It Up’. Even amid thoughts of regrets and depression, Rex Orange County’s distinctive nasal tone and dreamy beats manage to lighten the mood. The opening four tracks embrace twinkling synths and programmed beats with a childlike innocence. ‘Amazing’ is an ode to falling in love, while ‘Open A Window’ fights the feeling of being stuck in a rut. The aforementioned Tyler even hops on for a verse, contrasting his deeper pitch with O’Connor’s sweetness. One can't help but wish that he pushes the boat farther out for his third effort, however.
‘If You Want It’ ups the pace, courtesy of warped vocals and hip-hop elements. Still, infectious choruses – as heard on ‘7AM’ and ‘The Shade’ – remain O’Connor’s bread and butter. These down-tempo numbers explore the issue of self-doubt, as well as the lows of feeling clingy in a relationship. In the end, lines like, “I’m out of luck/ Guess I should have tried to give a fuck” are rescued by Rex’s charm. An enjoyable effort, but ultimately O'Connor plays it too safe.
Listen: ‘If You Want It’
Out now via Sony: