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Lexxa - Album Review: Toxic Love

06 Dec 2019 // A review by Tom Ashman
The latest offering from Auckland based twin sisters Maude and Julia Morris AKA Lexxa, is a synth-drooling, bass-wobbling, power-pop adventure that marks this exciting and ingenious band’s debut release. The album title Toxic Love sums up the reflective and emotional subject matter, as well as outlining the juxtaposition between the bouncy pop orientated sound and the darker introspective lyrics. The album is on-trend and captures something of an 80’s feel but with a contemporary and knowing edge, like the Instagram page of an upmarket vintage store.

The opener Floating starts with technicolour, dabbling synths, dropping like rain into a CGI sea. The beat pops in, one of those dry kick drum grooves backed up with a tight, bubbling bassline. “Feels like we’re floating…” the pre-chorus line cuts through the pounding verse as layers of electronic strings sweep around in the synthetic maelstrom. Expertly layered up sounds interlink with one another and the chorus builds to its electrifying peak, handclaps included.

Something striking in Lexxa’s music is the sense of movement. While rhythmically it remains fairly simple this provides an excellent base from which to explore the emotion that the music delivers in droves. This is music for dancing or driving (or both) but also with a palpable story to tell. The listener is invited to share in the intimate details of the lyrical imagery. There is also a playful side to the Lexxa’s sound, use of little effects and accentuations here and there puncture the soundscape and really lift the whole feel of the album. Small things like this play a large role in elevating Lexxa from the ranks of gifted amateurs to the professional and slick sounding outfit that they are.

Sometimes Thing is a stand out track from the album, with its striking opening vocal part, Kavinsky-esque melodies and catchy disco chorus. The razor-sharp instrumental hook perfectly complements the spiralling and angsty lyrics. The effected vocals are one of Lexxa’s many production tools that they use sparingly enough so that it always has a real impact on the musical subtext of the song whenever implemented. Their production is interesting and intense without ever feeling over the top.

The title track Toxic Love is a slightly more sombre affair. Tastefully limited percussion and bass synth form the foundation of a track where the vocals and lyrics are front and centre. There is a sense of loss and deflation conveyed in the words, relatable to anyone who shares the experience of a love that is negative. The line "going back to toxic love" is telling of a sense of resignation, which makes the song even sadder, a failed attempt to grasp something out of reach, and the inevitable slide back to the oppressive forces from which you had tried to escape.

The album Toxic Love is a real melting pot of ideas and sounds. Lexxa can masterfully dance between pop roof-thumpers and sentimental introspections, weaving a sound that retains the integrity of their message while also making simply brilliant pop music. They have a vibe of new-wave mixed with Taylor Swift, Pale Waves and Meg Myers. Listen out for Toxic Love blasting out of speakers from Whangarei to Invercargill as well as much further afield, Lexxa ticks all the boxes to become a global power-pop phenomenon.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Lexxa

Lexxa is a newly formed dreamy synth-pop duo made up of twin sisters Maude and Julia Morris.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Lexxa


Toxic Love
Year: 2019
Type: EP

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