The return of Rex Orange County is full of heartfelt honesty and his signature electro-pop
Maisy Farren
11:32 23rd October 2019

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Alex O’Connor, a.k.a. Rex Orange County, has developed a loyal and loving fanbase in his half decade of producing music. Three years ago, the 18-year-old BRIT school graduate was flown out to LA to work with Tyler, the Creator, and in 2019 he’s releasing his latest studio album and selling out 10 UK tour dates.

Rex Orange County has never been one to shy away from the ugly truth. His unique singer-songwriter electro-pop has always been peppered with honesty, with candid and frank lyrics that often border on simple spoken word. Where the artist is well known for the dreamy pop and romantic optimism of ‘Loving Is Easy’ and ‘Best Friend’, Pony is filled to the brim with a more melancholy pragmatism. The singer speaks honestly about his struggles with mental health issues, feelings of loneliness and nostalgia for a happier time. Whilst this is still delivered with O’Connor’s signature synthetic melody and jokey lyrics, the addition of some orchestral instrumentals adds a more sombre tone to the otherwise upbeat album. 

Opening single ‘10/10’ is a typically Rex pop song, which along with ‘Never Had The Balls’ and ‘It Gets Better’ boasts the same energy that we have come to expect of this British indie artist. ‘Always’, ‘Pluto Projector’ and ‘Everyway’, weave in and out of the album with a more thoughtful and breezy tone. Whilst Pony features less of the blatant romanticism of the EP Rainbow or his 2017 album Apricot Princess, it’s unfair to say that it isn’t still an ode to love. If ‘Loving Is Easy’ and ‘Television / So Far So Good’ plot the start of a relationship- a blossoming young love- then ‘Everyway’ is a heartfelt commitment to a long-term partner. 

In Pony, Rex Orange County has grown up. It’s easy to forget that the young artist is excelling at only 21-years-old. His previous self-released work featured a lot of youthful optimism, and Pony is a matured evolution of this. He’s successfully maintained his signature spirited and upbeat sound but delivered it in a fresh and un-sickly package. It’s clear to see that Alex O’Connor has gone from Soundcloud artist to trans-Atlantic success, a young lad-in-love from Surrey to in-demand musician and collaborator. Happily, he’s gone on to write about the corresponding struggles of that in an oh so victorious way.  

Pony is released on 25 October 2019 via Sony Music.

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