Picture an inexplicably smoky, dimly lit basement of some good friend’s parents house in some sector of Midwestern suburbia. The room is filled with angsty high school seniors, making out on ragged couches, getting high, listening to your friend’s older brother’s band perform while someone discusses the details of their “next big move.” This incredibly archetypal setting is reminiscent of a John Hughes film, or the pages of the next box-office hit screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Yet here it can be used to reflect another art form entirely. Here, the imagery of this quintessentially high school moment reflects the sonic simplicity emerging from Alex G’s new single, “Kicker.”
The classically minimalist musician allows his guitar to occupy the sonic space on “Kicker.” Despite the song’s bummed-out lyrics and monotonous tone, the versatile character of Alex G’s guitar engages the listener from start to finish. At “Kicker” ’s crescendo, where one sustained screech of G’s guitar carries the song into its five-second denouement, we’re transported to that smoky basement. Those post-puberty almost adults are occupying the space where Alex G is playing. They’re bobbing their heads along, understanding of the great simplicity that his music holds. “Heaven, maybe freedom, what’s the word / Right, I forgot, quiet is the closest thing we got,” he sings, and the crowd’s slow head-bob feels almost tangible. The track ends too quickly, closing in on just under three minutes. Alex G’s performance reflects what he has perfected: expansive guitars and angsty lyrics to satisfy the smoky basements in the back of all of our minds.