With The Age of Anxiety, Pixx's Hannah Rodgers gives the glossy ruminations of the Fall In EP more purpose, harnessing them to the fears and uncertainty of modern life in pop songs with unexpected depth. Like the crystals coming out of her head on the album cover, her words and music are polished and pointed as she addresses concerns that are timely, but also hint at the eternal: Her debut album's title comes from W.H. Auden's final poem and is repeated in the prickly opening track "I Bow Down," which rides a nagging groove that sounds like it could go on forever. Everything is in flux on these songs, but it's unclear whether this busy-ness is a cause or a symptom of the anxiety Rodgers sees in relationships ("Your Delight"), in comparing herself to others ("The Girls"), and in the world around her ("Everything Is Weird in America"). Regardless, Rodgers expresses these feelings eloquently as the tension between pretty surfaces and the not-so-pretty feelings churning underneath drives the album. The glassy guitars that dominate songs like "Telescreen" give an impression of slippery impermanence underscored by the way "Grip"'s chirpy backing vocals evoke songbirds and gnawing thoughts, while the surreal new wave of "Waterslides" feels like a trip through a water park designed by M.C. Escher. When Rodgers finally vents her fury and worry on the towering psychedelia of "A Big Cloud to Float Upon," her self-awareness when she sings "I am the cause of my own demise" somehow only adds to the uncertainty. However, she also finds beauty within unpredictability, especially on the gorgeous Cocteau Twins homage "Baboo" and the deceptively serene finale "Mood Ring Eyes." Throughout its shifting emotions and sounds, The Age of Anxiety is a consistently thoughtful, playful reflection of hyper-stimulating times.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares