A stripped-down version of Siouxie and the Banshees may be the first thing that comes to mind upon first listen to RxGF’s fourth release, a full-length album entitled Any Other Way. This comparison is due in a large part to the sultry and raspy vocals of singer Angeline Schaaf. RxGF, also featuring Schaaf on keys as well as John Morgan Riley on keys, drums and guitars, Jonathan Plum on synths and keys and Matthey Burgess on synths and percussion, is less stylized than Siouxie Sioux, however, with a raw indie power and lashings of dark wave, electro and post-punk.
Any Other Way is a bit of a departure for RxGF, which stands for “Radioactive X Girlfriend.” When they formed in 2010, their first release was more of a guitar-driven indie venture. After this debut Art of Splitting, the band moved more towards electronic sounds and 2012’s release, All Blade No Handle, seemed to really give the band their signature electro-folk sound as they began working with well-known producer Jonathan Plum. Any Other Way still connotes RxGF’s trademark style, but also introduces heavier vocals and lots of reverb to create an album which is well and truly on the dark wave side of electro-indie.
Any Other Way’s title track indeed finds Schaaf’s vocals sounding very much like Siouxie Sioux at the beginning. When the Bauhaus-like, goth influenced guitars and synths merge with her voice, however, the result is something entirely different. This marriage of indie sub-genres is reflected in the rest of the album as well and blends in a way which creates more texture to a sound which could otherwise be described as minimal. The effect in the second track, How to Make It is, as if almost by accident, both industrial and shoegazer.
All these different sounds make their appearances at one point or another throughout the rest of the album, with songs like We Will Not Be Denied and Flesh and Bone sounding very dark wave and gothic industrial while Never Felt So Good swings the pendulum back towards shoegaze and even a little electro-pop.
Along with the album, RxGF have also recently released their first video off of Any Other Way for the single How to Make It. The video is shot with a mind toward mimicking RxGF’s unique sound, with overlapping videos and dizzying spin shots. Angeline Schaaf’s intensity and focus may remind some of Alice Glass from the now disbanded Crystal Castles, and strobes in the video match the sampled lyrics which have been cut up and put on a fast repeat in the actual song.
For those who are hearing about RxGF for the first time, an exploration of their other albums will show how diverse this band truly is, and how no matter how much they may change in the styles and genres they choose to explore, the high-quality and emotive merging of their individual talents are apparent in all of their releases. The musical versatility they possess and the marked differences in their sound from album to album mean that fans will most likely be surprised by their next album as well. Any Other Way is available to stream on RxGF’s Bandcamp page, and it is also available to purchase track-by track or in its entirety. The link is listed below in “Sources.”
Review by Layla Klamt
Artist bio: RxGF Provided by Independent Music Promotions