ARXX: “Ride or Die” Album Review – Brighton duo lead the way in future sounds


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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Euphoric bolster of alt-rock: unafraid to eclipse pop immediacy.

It’s safe to say that we’ve had a stronghold of duo rockers throughout the years. Be it the Canadian rockers from Death From Above or even a fellow duo Royal Blood harking from Brighton themselves, abrasive rock has always been best in pairs.

Now? Now, we have an alt-rock gal pal duo taking flavours from both; this is ARXX. A contagious sprawl of swamp-rock full of spritz energy, Hanni and Clara are on a dedicated path of rock stardom. Personally describing themselves as if Taylor Swift only ever listened to Nirvana, Arxx have bolstered themselves as fierce contenders in the touring circuit with bagging support slots alongside the likes of The Big Moon and Dream Wife. Not only that, but their sheer incline from their early EP releases has allowed them to now release their debut album: Ride or Die.

At the focal point, Ride or Die encapsulates a band brimming with both confidence and ideas, simply unafraid on where it may take them. It’s refreshing, it’s enthralling and it’s high time women in rock are beckoned through the rock doors once again.

While the band are very much in the remit of indie-rock, the duo aren’t afraid to compromise themselves into the flecks of pop, which is shown with the first frivislous showing with Baby Uh Huh, a pop-spirited animal certainly uplifted by the likes of HAIM and their dominance within the circuit.

With it’s perpetual guitar strikes and synth digs, Not Alone enters the territory of a Wolf Alice and Black Honey hybrid, two abrasive collectives leading the fires with powerful frontwomen. The enigmatic Ride or Die is this bands’ true colour – clean production, wobbly synth-lines, emphatic vocals and catchy choruses. The little choir bridge is a great touch away also, before we’re dragged back under for a ferocious climax.

It’s important to note that Hanni and Clara aren’t the only ones on this spiralling journey either. They’re joined with their fellow female comrades in Irish quartet Pillow Queens – who undoubtedly met on the road – in Call Me Crazy, a whirlwind of call-and-response vocals that results in a wickedly good song. Stuck On You is the awaiting slow one in the album, but doesn’t act as a filler in any stretch of the word. And neither does What Have You Done, a funky inflection of dreamy indie-pop adulterations that is thwomped by a amp detonation outta nowhere that is seemingly designed to keep us on our toes.

The Last Time was the first single released in the successive batch released ahead of the debut dropping, an indie-pop bop that checks the markers of a feel-good vibe ahead for the summer. The roster of songs ends with 2019’s single Iron Lung, a teething entering into the territory of Ride or Die hard rock, as the bold half-time breakdown earmarks a shoe-in for a sound not too dissimilar for Royal Blood‘s soundtrack. Must be a Brighton thing.

ARXX are a duo known for simply living it large and not doing things by halves. It’s this Ride or Die mentality that is littered throughout their album, tempered with fluxes of creativity that they will sure carry with them long into their prospering careers.

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