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EP Review: Pixel Fix – Running Thin

2 min read

Oxford is known for a few things: Dictionaries, Universities and Commas to name a few. It’s also one of the UK’s cradles for pretty incredible music. Juggernauts like Radiohead, Supergrass, Foals and even theater legend Andrew Lloyd Webber all call the place home. This month we get another stellar release from this south-eastern city in the form of Running Thin, the latest EP from futurist indie quartet Pixel Fix.

Pixel Fix - Running Thin EPRunning Thin opens strongly with lead single Lungs. It’s a bit of a collage of a lot of the sounds that are dominating indie music at the moment: Glitchy beats, swelling synths, guitars that have just the right amount of funk to them, all providing a great backing for the unique vocals of frontman Marcus Yates. It’s the kind of voice with enough whine to warrant some of the Alt-J comparisons the band are bound to receive but his almost foppish, Kooks-esque delivery gives it enough charm to rise above.

The synth ambience and vocal layering/manipulation in Change This work well against the haywired drum programming and earthy noise samples (kind of reminiscent of some of the more relaxed moments on Robert DeLong’s Just Movement from last year) before some late-90’s IDM flourishes before the instrumental interlude Still follows on, exploring some of the ideas and textures that just wouldn’t fit into the song. Some might say it’s a bit… “ambitious” to put an interlude on a 4-track EP, but Pixel Fix manage to do so with minimal pretentiousness.

Running Thin closes out with Overflow; a dystopian, almost post-emo affair with vocals that wax and wane with the song’s dynamic arc which encompasses some pretty great textural guitar work, big drums and side-chain swells that really hit home. When it ends however, you feel like it’s leading into something else.

Again, this is the fundamental flaw with the format of the EP: It’s essentially the only way bands today can give a cross-section of their abilities at a time where singles reign supreme and great albums are a depressingly rare commodity. This being said, Pixel Fix have undoubtedly woven together a strong collection that sounds simultaneously fresh and familiar, however Running Thin kind of lives up to its name in that when it’s over, you just want more.