Review

Rex Orange County’s Pony album is modern eclecticism driven by a solid dose of classic pop

In 2017 a floppy haired, love-lorn 19-year-old Alex O’Connor dropped Apricot Princess, and it unexpectedly blossomed into his sizzling breakout.

Two years down the line and he’s paired up not only with both Tyler, The Creator (who flew him out to LA promptly after copping onto Rex Orange County’s debut bcos u will never b free), but also toured with Frank Ocean. Yet another small-town Brit gone large.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses down the lane to alt-pop stardom though and Rex grappled with crippling anxiety shifting forward into this new phase of his career. As a result, Pony somehow sees him a whole lot happier and a whole lot more wholesome.

It’s his first full-length offering, and it’s an expertly positioned neo-pop arrangement grandly bridging the yawning gaps between pop, jazz and a dash of hip-hop, with a sort of left-field congruity.

It’s neatly experimental. Organ-esque synths hold down the fort for the most part – switching between oozing ballads and stripped rap numbers as they go. “Laser Lights” is a nod at easy hip-hop, fraught with brassy texture – while “Never Had The Balls” take a chiming, breezing dance approach. Thematically he navigates brittle friendships, moving into his own, and hauling himself unceremoniously from mental ruts.

Watch your radar, Rex is on the move.