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March 27, 2017 | by  | in Music |
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Pixels — Toons EP

The debut EP from Auckland group Pixels is a sweet and heartfelt mash of dreamy indie pop and bleeping cartoon-esque sounds. It opens with their 95bFM Top Ten minted early release single “Sleep Talk” — a soft but not overly saccharine love song combining the vocals of Cindy Tan and the man at the project’s helm, Lukas Hanson, to make what could almost be described as a more happy-go-lucky, arcade game-loving, version of The XX. It sets an innocent, boppy, and delightfully simple tone that runs right through the EP.

None of the remaining four tracks even hit the three minute mark, and they seem to progress through from the combination of glitchy cartoon tones and keys, and sun-drenched indie pop guitar chords and riffs, of “Toons”, to the darker, more organ and bass-like sounds of “Low Batteries”. The latter  is Pixels at their most Kraftwerk-like, and mostly consists of the repeated phrase “I’m running, low batteries.”

Both the project’s name, Pixels, and the EP title Toons, are fitting. There are 8-bit reminiscent keys, bleeps, and other sounds running right through it, which conjured carefree Sunday mornings spent obsessively playing Super Mario with my little brother. There definitely appears to be an obsession here with these earlier forms of technological entertainment and ideas of futurism, as is clear on the track “Bots”, which imagines a future of aluminium-haired robots roaming the streets.

This EP is a wonderfully joyous and earnest romp through the nostalgic sounds of the games and cartoons of our youth, mixed seamlessly with today’s indie musical sensibilities. If you’re in need of a soundtrack to your sweet but short-lived romance with a well-intentioned android you met down at the arcade, then look no further than Toons.

Toons can be streamed and downloaded online at pixelsbandcamp.bandcamp.com.

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