Wednesday 6 April 2016

Allie X @ Birthdays, London

Allie X

Why isn't Allie X more successful?

Seriously, it's like Carly Rae Jepsen all over again. The Canadian singer (now based in L.A.) has all the talent and all the songs, but she's still skirting the fringes of super-stardom.

Her 2015-released 'CollXtion I' EP, the songs of which formed the entirety of her set at this gig (alongside excellent new single Old Habits Die Hard), has certainly brought her a wealth of dedicated fans. It starts with a track called Hello that came way before Adele and launches into a whole string of pounding electro-pop bangers. There are shades of Chvrches, Icona Pop and Carly Rae across the release: the stomping, grinding Prime; the yearning emotion of Tumour and its lofty chorus; the whirring, hypnotic Good; and the lushly layered synths of Sanctuary to name a few. She even lent her songwriting to Troye Sivan on his 'Blue Neighbourhood' album last year.

Yet if Allie X draws one comparison, it's to Lady Gaga. As she sauntered through the crowd and on to the stage, dressed in some sort of furry shoulder piece and her trademark circular sunglasses, she looked every bit the popstar. Even on such a small stage, an aura of grand theatricality surrounds her: she jerks robotically to every beat of the music, a musical persona come alive, those glasses creating an impenetrable distance between her performance and her fans. Take them off and the façade would fall into girlish charm. And like Gaga, she has the voice to match the colourful drama. For all the visual appeal, you get the sense that she'd sound just as good sat alone at a piano, her high soprano faintly operatic as it soars into higher registers with some impressive ad libs.

Her only fault at this stage is a lack of material. At a mere thirty (maybe forty) minutes, the set was criminally short and didn't include all the songs off her EP, leaving the audience wanting. All the ingredients are here for Allie X to reach the heights of pop fame, she just needs a stage big enough to hold both her leaping vocal and distinctive theatricality.


Listen: 'CollXtion I' is out now.

(Apologies, the lighting was not conducive to good photography)

Allie X

Allie X

Allie X