Through his sophomore album, Liverpool alt-pop icon Pizzagirl finds his spirit animal in a stylistic post-Y2K release that pangs with aching pressure and jammed electronic signals, yet retains the unique glint he has cultivated over years of honing his craft.
Following on from acclaimed 2019 debut First Timer, Softcore Mourn continues Pizzagirl’s propensity for off-kilter, emotive world-building. Perpetually ensconced in the fault-lines between effervescent humanity and binary technology, pitting maximalist-pop sounds against claustrophobic production, Liam Brown delves deeper into the emotional hard-drive on his latest project.
Spending a lot of his life hunkered down in his bedroom-cum-studio, his computer became his therapist, and his recording software his diary – dispassionately reflecting his emotions. “It was like HAL from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, a red light always watching, offering to help…”. The result is an album that is his most emotionally honest work.
So, it makes sense that more and more organic instrumentation finds its way into his sound, with the album tracks flitting back and forth, and blurring the lines between bristling electronic jams and country-tinged alt-pop tunes. Opener Car Freshener Aftershave, and mid album bangers Bullet Train and Sugar Ray, examples of the former, and By The Way, devastating closer Download The Pain, and undeniable earworm Your Flat Earth Brother (In The Blades Of Grass) – “on which I kept having to tell Saam (Jarfazadeh, on mixing duties) to turn up the banjo” – examples of the latter.
It’s by no means an absolute departure. Liam still toys with the comforts of nostalgia, offering a description of the consistent energy being “90s/early noughties Elliot Smith dejection. I like to be 20 years behind the curve. In 2030, I’ll put out a nu-rave album.” A lot can also be seen as a call back to the start – 2018’s introductory An Extended Play EP fused 1-900-hotline-rock and ambient infomercial electronica into perfect pop pigtails, and Softcore Mourn borrows some of this sonic palette. But gone is the postmodern absurdism and vapor-wave escapism, the approach now is as real and grounded as a 90s dial-up squall.
Softcore Mourn is out now. Find out more by clicking here.