Ever since he began making music, Philadelphia based singer, songwriter, animator, and performer Alex Deems has sought to connect the visual with the aural. Citing a 2015 Foo Figheter’s concert as inspiration, Alex saw that moment as the catalyst towards committing himself from an otherwise casual musician to one that wanted to professionalise his craft and give it his all. Saving up money while working multiple jobs allowed Alex to finally purchase a computer and use it produce his own songs.
You see, much like most of us, Alex has always seen music as an escape. To him, being able to make it gives him an opportunity to provide others with the escape he so keenly fell back on. “All I want to do is give people the same escape and support that music always was for me. I relied and continue to rely on music to this day. It is only fair that I contribute what I can to that very same source – the art that helps people get through their daily life.”
On his latest EP, “Stranger To Trust”, Alex channels feelings that are universally relatable through sounds that are uniquely his. The project details unpleasant breakups, cutting off people holding you back, the perennial pains of the pandemic, and the disheartening loss of live music. The album also progresses seamlessly not just sonically, but thematically. A near operatic composition, Alex begins with a pained conflict before closing with a cathartic resolution.
Sonically, the EP sounds similar to a lot of mainstays in the Indie Rock/Pop scene of the 2010s. With clear influences from Rex Orange County, Matt Healy, Peach Pit, The Wallows, and The Neighbourhood, there is a definite homage being paid by Alex to the pioneers of the sound. However, Alex maintains his own distinctive voice through the album.
From the more poppy and Top 40 vibe that ‘fine’ brings out to the grandiose and cinematic closing track ‘for good’, Alex doesn’t restrict himself to one sound. “I’m fine/yeah I’m fine/everything will be alright” sings Alex on the song soon to be released as a video on the 11th of June. ‘open up’ is more spacey, creating an almost surrealistic and futuristic air while listening. ‘come back down’ is a clear indie rock homage, with an infectious riff and equally catchy chorus carrying it. But it’s on ‘for good’ that Alex’s true talent comes out strongest. Defiantly crying, “so live your life/nothing lasts forever/nothing lasts for good”, it’s as cathartic a closing track as I’ve heard in a while. With a voice that seemingly changes in each song and production that complements these changeups seamlessly, ‘A Stranger To Trust’ is an all around brilliant piece from the Philadelphia native.