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Music In Review: Lexia Underground Sounds
Written by Zachary Fenell   
Tuesday, 16 November 2010 06:00
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Singer Alexia Rodriguez made her way onto the music industry’s radar in 2004 when she, along with her sister Anissa, formed the metal/rock group Eyes Set to Kill (ESTK). Rodriguez has enjoyed much success with Eyes Set to Kill. In fact, the group’s last two albums, 2009’s The World Outside and the more recent Broken Frames have made their ways onto the top 10 of the Billboard’s Heetseeker Albums charts. Despite ESTK’s success, Rodriguez felt a need to branch out and diversify her musical background, as she explained in an interview with Phoenix New Times. This creative drive led to a solo project, Lexia. On October 12th Lexia’s debut album, Underground Sounds, dropped.

Underground Sounds offers variety in the record’s discography. The album is comprised of new material, ESTK covers, and even a Radiohead cover. All the tracks illustrate what a talented singer Rodriguez is. Her vocals are clean and crisp and she demonstrates a wide range in notes, low and high. Without the additional accompaniment from Eyes Set to Kill, fans have the opportunity to appreciate Rodriguez’s voice so much more. Now, I’m not saying ESTK has been holding back their frontwoman the past six years because the group has created some very likeable music together. Rather, I’m just saying Underground Sounds offers a different dynamic which fosters new appreciation for Rodriguez’s talents.

Lexia’s original music shows much creativity, implementing musical instruments you don’t typically find in the rock and metal genres. For instance, the beginning to “Basements,” one of the more memorable songs on the album, includes what sounds like a xylophone. The track has a Paramore-esque vibe to it. Of course part of that vibe can be attributed to the fact there are so few female vocalists in rock for other women singers to be compared to. Still, any comparison to Paramore’s widely popular and successful lead singer Hayley Williams should easily be considered high praise.

When asked by Phoenix New Times about which song she was most excited about on Underground Sounds, Rodriguez responded “I am most excited about ‘Waste’. It is one of my oldest folk-influenced songs that started out with one guitar and one vocal. It ended up having a lot of piano, shakers, strings etc.” Knowing this makes “Waste” an intriguing listen. By imagining the song with one guitar and vocal each you can understand how the other instrumentals help craft the piece’s rhythm.

Personally, some of my favorite tracks on the album were Lexia’s takes on Eyes Set to Kill songs. For example, adaptations to “World Outside” and “Reach” leads Rodriguez’s vocals to come off stronger, without the singer having to strain her voice. A big part of that is underlining the vocals with just the right guitar chords. The key to do this involves mastering the right tempo and volume to go along with the lyrics.

Overall, Underground Sounds delivers, showcasing Rodriguez’s musical talents. For Eyes Set to Kill fans, some will like Lexia’s album, others won’t. The key depends on what you enjoy about ESTK’s music. If you enjoy the group’s heaviness, Underground Sounds will likely be underwhelming as Rodriguez keeps the album rather somber and mellow. However, if you can’t get enough of Rodriguez’s vocals, the Lexia album will prove a must buy.                

 

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