Sometimes less is more as we hear on "Dirty AF1's," the debut single from the elusive electropop of Alexander 23.

In a world where everything's immediately available at the push of a button or the flick of a wrist; where you can learn pretty much anything about almost anybody in less time than it takes to make a grilled cheese - absence and restraint end up shouting louder than an air raid siren. After a few decades of the "loudness wars," where Pop music is compressed and flattened until it becomes a leadened dirigible, shrieking and shouting in your ears, sparse, restrained elegant music ends up standing out louder than the fiercest Metal.

Absence and restraint color absolutely everything about "Dirty AF1's," the debut single from enigmatic electro-pop producer Alexander 23. The infectiously catchy reflects on a missing lover, using the symbol of a pair of Dirty Air Force One's to describe the almost overwhelming despair and desire of a departed lover.



"Dirty AF1s" is built around a skeletal template, which lets Alexander 23's honeyed vocals and red, raw beating heart to shine through. The single creeps in, beginning with a single vocal loop and a chant-like incantation of love and loss. Gradually, it builds and builds - a slight, tinkling piano; an organ-like synth, dirgelike and hypnotic. Finally, the restraint breaks, as a crunchy breakbeat breaks in, transforming Alexander 23's skeletal pop into a futurist funk elegy.

Alexander 23's got every ingredient necessary for success. Strong vocals, great production, sterling songwriting instincts. This, paired with a sense of tact, taste, and restraint are good sigsn, indeed. "Dirty AF1's" brings to mind some of the earliest singles from OK Go, when they were still slinging EPs for $3 a pop, before going on to take over festival stages and late night talk shows. Let's hope a similar fate's in store for Alexander 23. We Are: The Guard encourage everything who loves music with heart, and a sick, fresh beat, to give this one a listen. Let's bring back taste and tact and subtlety - where so much of the good things in life live.


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.