Allie X is coming to Dublin

Pop savant, multi platinum singer Allie X has just announced her headline gig in The Academy, Dublin on Sunday 26th May 2024. Allie X has been praised for her voice, multimedia artistic endeavours, fan participation, and engaging live performances.

Allie X’s fourth album, Girl With No Face, is a daring excavation of her identity. A maniacal journey into the mind of an artist who just spent three years in isolation, refusing any input as she became the solitary producer, writer and creative voice for the first time in her career. 

“This record documents an intense struggle for power and control – creatively, professionally, mentally and physically,” X explains. “At times, it felt like I was never going to make it out to the other side, that the process itself was going to kill me.” This isn’t exactly an overstatement, as X (born Alexandra Hughes) did end up hospitalised in 2022, and consequently disappeared from the public eye until recently.

Inspired by the technology and hedonism of the early 80’s new wave scene, the album’s analog-leaning songs are a series of stark contradictions – retro in feel but ultra-modern in subject matter, pointed, unpredictable yet danceable, approachable while delightfully menacing. In short, Girl with No Face is completely orthogonal to the hyper-tuned, automated shapes that dominate today’s alt pop.

Instead of following any trends, I just wanted to indulge myself in all my favourite stuff this time. I wanted limitations. No plug-ins. I chose a bass synth, drum machine, string machine and embraced the shortcomings and grittiness of this old temperamental equipment. I also worked with my favourite guitarist George Pimentel to come up with dissonant yet simple parts. The result was something that felt messy, raw, and direct, which was really exciting to me.”

Infusing early 80’s British experimentalism, with nods to The Human League and New Order, the album is a strident move away from 2020’s introspective and sparse Cape God — so much faster, more threatening. It’s not difficult to envision an industrial booted and black-eyed 80s subculture mouthing the German verses of “Weird World” and thrashing about to the relentless pulsing bass.

Self-deprecation and the driest of wits lighten the aggressive mood of the record, especially in songs like You Slept on Me (a musical manifestation of the age-old tweet ‘Stop sleeping on Allie X!’) and Off With Her Tits (an upbeat satirization of some of Allie X’s more unsettling thoughts). Her signature deranged Disney-princess pop sensibility still manages to weave its way into most songs . “I always need a bit of camp,” says X, “it counterbalances the dark thoughts in a necessary way.”

In the end, the multi-platinum songwriter enlisted the help of Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, M83, Wolf Alice). This process was a great relief for X, who had “fried her ears” by this point and needed a fresh perspective. Together they were able to upgrade sounds, fix certain technical issues and enrich the arrangements, producing something that felt whole and complete. As is customary in X World, Ms, X creatively directed her campaign, this time utilising masks as visual thread.

Weaving custom pieces she had commissioned by artists Miya Turnbull and Shalva Nikvashvilli and creating mask-like hair and makeup with Yuki Hayashi and Evanie Frasuto throughout her artwork . The striking album cover, a red, black and white tritone- pictures Allie clutching a cracked paper mache replica of her own face together with black gloved hands. Like the music itself this is perhaps the most direct and simultaneously most deflective portrayal of the artist’s identity so far. 

“The best comparison I can make is intentionally locking yourself in a room and sitting in front of a mirror staring at yourself. When everything is refracted through your lens you get high on the sense of power and control. But as you get to know yourself intimately, you see your own ugliness, your limitations, your pain. It’s terrifying and enlightening all at once. A total ego fuck.”