When (Sandy) Alex G, aka Alex Giannascoli, released "Bobby," the lead single from his excellent 2017 LP Rocket, it felt like a revolution in the prolific Philadelphia musician’s songwriting. With its timeless country-twinged swing, lonesome fiddle, and mournfully heartfelt lyrics, it’s one of the best standalone songs of his catalog, and it set the stage for his most fully-formed and ambitious LP yet. After a couple of relatively quiet years off, Giannascoli’s latest song "Gretel" captures the same jaw-dropping magic.
Opening up with a woozy and disorienting pitch-shifted vocal—now a hallmark of his catalog—"Gretel" unfolds into a dense and knotty slow-burner. Like most great (Sandy) Alex G songs, there’s a sense of foreboding darkness at the center of the arrangement. With its thundering bass, clanging guitars, and siren-like atmosphere, the song feels practically spooky. But once it gets to the chorus and Giannascoli sings, "good people got something to lose" over an acoustic guitar, the song luxuriates in some of his most easily repeatable hooks yet. It proves that (Sandy) Alex G is one of the foremost experts at building and resolving tension.
The track is the first taste off his upcoming ninth LP House of Sugar, which is set to come out September 13 via Domino Records. Considering the strength of this lead single, count it as one of the most anticipated LPs of the year so far. Watch the wistful Zev Magasis-directed video for it below.