The third album by Pure X, Angel, is an extremely laid-back soundtrack for summer. ‘Starlight’ is like a turquoise swimming pool; notes of soul and disco remind me of the dreamy haze of Twin Sister, the lyrics practically whispered. ‘Valley of Tears’ has electric guitar fuzzing away in the background, which stops the cool confection from melting. ‘Livin’ the Dream’ is like a pared-down version of a Metronomy song, melodic and held in a trance: “Looks like I fell into a dream again”. This delicacy feels as if it is foregrounding a climax, but instead goes into a woozy spiral, rippling away into ‘Every Tomorrow’, a quiet paean to love.
Pure X’s refusal of climax on this album is – quietly, carefully – interesting, but sometimes I’d like them to give way to loudness; at times it’s as if Angel is coccooned. ‘Fly Away With Me Woman’ is a gently surreal odyssey, which might become epic if they pushed the volume UP into full psychedelic mode. This is followed by a standout track, ‘Heaven’, with guitar notes I can only describe as suave. Like the rest of the album, it’s understated, but the chorus anchors it in its mood, singing “Heaven is a feeling.”
‘White Roses’ is surreptitiously affecting, as if it’s retreated completely into this daze or haze: “Let the flowers bloom”. It would be hard to dance to this – or do anything other than lie sleepily on the grass – but it makes its own sunny afternoon sound ghostly, as if it could last for ever. ‘Make You Want Me’ is nice enough, but feels by now quite familiar. ‘Rain’ is different, mostly due to its texture – which mimics its subject, with sounds of falling rain – and the depth of the voice, which until this point has been high, with some of the expansiveness of Sigur Ros. In title track ‘Angel’, the voice almost disappears down a well, then ‘Wishin’ On The Same Star’ ends the album with playful romance, touches of what sound like synths lifting its wings. Ideally, listen beneath a shady tree, with watermelon.