Pennsylvania's singer-songwriter Alex "G" Giannascoli debuted with the
cassette Race (2010) whose
banjo-driven Remember recalls an "indie" version of the Everly Brothers.
But the highlight of the cassette was his guitar style, the
creative quasi-psychedelic fingerpicking of Gnaw and the
Byrds-ian space elegy Race.
The digital download Winner (2011) contains shy, whispered litanies
like Hitting So Hard and the anemic Freedom, but also the
faster and harsher space-rock Stop and lively ditties like
Big World bordering on bubblegum pop.
Loud grunge-style guitar distortion is the norm on
Rules (2012), even in simple singalongs like the Elliott Smith-esque Come Back, but
his guitar skills are better demonstrated in the rowdy instrumental Master.
In general, the songs increasingly imitate the
vocal harmonies of the 1960s, notably Rules and Wicked Boy.
A scattershot experience.
The prolific G should have thought twice before releasing two albums in the
same year. Trick (2012) counts on the country-rock of Forever
and the acid litany Advice, but little else. It's mostly filler.
DSU (Orchid Tapes, 2014) contains the silly and catchy Harvey,
the catchy and less silly Boy,
and some of his dreamiest guitar work in one of his
anemic litanies, Hollow.
The steady piano beat collides with a loud guitar riff in After Ur Gone,
and neoclassical tiptoeing propels Serpent is Lord.
Beach Music (Domino, 2015) is a tad more experimental.
Salt is his most atmospheric song yet, thanks to a combination of
rhythm, desolate guitar riff and melancholy singing.
Bug and Kicker share the same lazy rhythm, mildly melodic and mildly dissonant, but this time there is more variety, from the
bubblegum-pop ditty Brite Boy to the
slow bluesy piano ballad In Love via one of his
most delicated whispered elegies, Mud, and finally some
solemn drama in Ready.
Meanwhile, Alex started calling himself Sandy.
Rocket (2017) is mostly divided between
folk-rock (the trotting Bobby, the mildly dissonant Poison Root,
and especially the fiddle-driven Powerful Man)
and surreal experiments
(the booming rap-rock Brick, the piano reggae shuffle Sportstar, the floating serenade Alina, the Irish carillon of the instrumental Rocket),
his most compelling song yet, the Byrds-ian country-rocker Proud, with counterpoint of saloon piano, falls into neither camp, nor does the
simple Elliott Smith-esque Big Fish.
House of Sugar (2019) definitely confirmed his credentials as composer
of catchy ditties like Hope, the
childish nursery rhyme Taking,
and the waltzing singalong Southern Sky.
More importantly, it delivered
the complex elegy Gretel,
the hypnotic oneiric Caribbean shuffle Near, with an intriguing rhythm,
the swirling disorienting psychedelic raga Walk Away, somewhere between
the Animal Collective and the
Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour.
Unfortunately, the second half of the album is mostly filler, with
the magniloquent instrumental Sugar and the
romantic ballad In My Arms pointing at a future career in mainstream pop.
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