Girl With No Face
Allie X’s fourth album, 'Girl With No Face', is a daring excavation of her identity.
A maniacal journey into the mind of an artist who just spent three years in isolation, refusing any input as she became the solitary producer, writer and creative voice for the first time in her career. “This record documents an intense struggle for power and control – creatively, professionally, mentally and physically,” X explains. Inspired by the technology and hedonism of the early 80’s new wave scene, the album’s analog-leaning songs are a series of stark contradictions – retro in feel but ultra-modern in subject matter, pointed, unpredictable yet danceable, approachable while delightfully menacing. In short, 'Girl With No Face' is completely orthogonal to the hyper-tuned, automated shapes that dominate today’s alt pop.
“Instead of following any trends, I just wanted to indulge myself in all my favourite stuff this time. I wanted limitations. No plug-ins. I chose a bass synth, drum machine, string machine and embraced the shortcomings and grittiness of this old temperamental equipment. The result was something that felt messy, raw, and direct, which was really exciting to me.” Infused with early 80’s British experimentalism, with nods to The Human League and New Order, the album is a strident move away from 2020’s introspective and spare Cape God -- so much faster, more threatening. It’s not difficult to envision an industrial booted and black-eyed 80s subculture mouthing the German verses of “Weird World” and thrashing about to the relentless pulsing bass. Self-deprecation and the driest of wits lighten the aggressive mood of the record, especially in songs like You Slept on Me (a musical manifestation of the age-old tweet ‘Stop sleeping on Allie X!’) and Off With Her Tits (an upbeat satirization of some of Allie X’s more unsettling thoughts).
Her signature deranged Disney-princess pop sensibility still manages to weave its way into most songs . “I always need a bit of camp,” says X, “it counterbalances the dark thoughts in a necessary way.” In the end, the multi-platinum songwriter enlisted the help of Justin Meldal Johnsen (Beck, M83, Wolf Alice). “The best comparison I can make is intentionally locking yourself in a room and sitting in front of a mirror staring at yourself. When everything is refracted through your lens you get high on the sense of power and control. But as you get to know yourself intimately, you see your own ugliness, your limitations, your pain. It’s terrifying and enlightening all at once. A total ego fuck.” - Allie X