Alix Page’s opening statement proves that not only is she playing with the big girls of sad pop, but that she’s showing them how it’s done with her debut EP Old News.
How has Alix Page, across only four tracks, done what most artists take multiple full-length records to do? A cohesive yet diverse slice of moody indie-pop, Old News is bursting with melancholy realisms and sweeping, starry soundscapes: an introduction as enchanting as it is polished. Phoebe Bridgers comparisons feel inevitable; the image-heavy reflectiveness of the lyrics, the murmured delivery, and the fluctuating versions of stripped-back that constitute the instrumentals. Page is clearly leaning into the zeitgeist for vulnerable storytelling packaged in shimmering pop tunes, and she’s doing it incredibly well.
At only 20, Page seems stunningly aware of the stories she wants to tell, and the sonic world she wants to create. On debut single and EP closing track "25" she looks five years into the future and imagines where she’ll be, and what’ll have become of her relationship and somehow manages to create nostalgia for something that’s not happened yet, with sprawling synth melodies glittering around her more restrained vocals. On "Radiohead", the EP’s other single, she goes the other direction and reduces the instrumentals to a gently strummed acoustic guitar, and packs all the pain into her quietly fraught delivery. The disparity between the two is immense but simultaneously non-existent, two parts of the same story – a tough party to expand further, but the EP’s two new tracks manage perfectly.
"June Gloom" and "True + Honest" occupy the middle ground on the other tracks' spectrum – we never hear Page quite as desolate or quite as euphoric, but we do hear her flexing some mega alt-pop muscles. "True + Honest" opens the EP on a slightly fuzzier, grungier note, bringing together a hooky melody with a touch of a moodier atmosphere, making sure that we don’t mistake this for an EP that’s going to be upbeat.
Page’s vocals and deftly woven lyrics remain subtly blue throughout, especially when the instrumentals echo the emotional core that defines the whole of Old News. Whether that’s done through gut-wrenching quietness, sunny but reserved brightness heard in the twinkling backdrop of "June Gloom", or through the magnitude of high point "25", Page’s personality and honesty is what makes Old News really shine. The EP doesn’t do anything that’s not been done before, but for that reason maybe it’s even more impressive that it’s so good – Page has marked herself out as essential listening for those who like alt-pop, and made sure that there’s a space for her in a genre that gets more popular with every passing day.