AXLS. First Contact.

Choosing to take a less-trodden path, the debut from Newcastle based 3-piece AXLS is an ambitious attempt to take a ‘cosmic’ 80’s synth/electro/pop sound (think ‘Stealing Sheep’) and mix it with a high brow concept of alien contact.  Succeeding in the way a concept album like ‘Yoshimi Battles the pink robot’ does, the success of ‘First contact’ is its ability to maintain a clear narrative whilst moving through a variety of musical textures.  Led by a pop/dance/electro sound (seen clearest on pop hits such as ‘Snow blind’, ‘Alias’, and ‘Integration’) which glisten with Neil Tennant style melodies and Chris Lowe keyboard effects, the standout of the album, ‘Heaven’, a deliciously slow, moving piece of minimalism and manga styled themes of contentment proves that AXLS are no one trick ponies.  Cleverly hiding modern references in its sci-fi theme, ‘First contact’ succeeds on so many levels; the most obvious being that it’s a piece of perfect pop music.