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Let’s get one thing straight: the indie synth pop mainstay that is Jenn Vix is only new to the moden EDM aesthetic. Nearly virtuosic on the synths and bass and a post punk-style lyricist, Vix has been producing goth-edged music since 1995 and is well-recognized for her work in the larger music scene. Having worked with some of the best-known indie stars and producers of the 80s, including members of The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs and Adam and the Ants, her debut self-titled solo album in 1995 received notice from Rolling Stone and has post punk and post rock cachet for miles. Shes been releasing ever since, racking up even more accolades whilst staying true to her synthy style.

The tandem tricks to good post punk, if Joy Division, Nick Cave and Tom Waits are anything to go by, is haunting vocals and stark, striking lyrics. Outside of that, the genre is as diverse as its often partner, synth wave. Jenn Vix has a good hold on both of these post punk necessities, with her early work conjuring Sioxsie Sioux-meets-New Order. Her music has changed with the times and become even more synthy through her three full-lenghth albums, three EPs and coundless singles and collabs, landing somewhere between synthwave, indie pop and EDM.

Vix’s latest single, “Mr. Strange” combines all these styles and adds a trap beat, making it her first obvious bridge between indie pop and EDM, vintage and modern. The stark vocals, however, show she’s still not pulling any lyrical punches. While the hip hop-inspired trap beat flickers around darkwave-style synths, Vix’s vocals are bold as brass : it’s about a relationship with a sex doll. In case anyone was going to misinterpret, the video makes it crystal clear (NSFW).

While the outward point of the song and video are clear, “Mr. Strange” also speaks to some larger issues in society and sexuality that are a bit more open to interpretation. Similar to the flim Lars and the Real Girl, there’s an aura of disconnection and the potential for lonliness to push an innocent interest into something more real. Blowup dolls or not, with so much of our lives being lived online nowadays and the added forced separation of the pandemic, the need for connection can take a turn into the realm of fetish or obsession.

These other, non-human forms of connection can also be tools for those who are working through trauma, and there’s a hint of that in “Mr. Strange,” as well as a feminist vibe, a’la women taking conrtol of their sexuality and the empowerment behind there. For a track that’s so lyrically stark and obvious, there’s still a lot to think about. That may be Vix’s most important gift: there are a lot of talented musicians out there, but a message that gets people thinking, especially in times like these, is what makes artist likes Vix stand out.

It will be interesting to see if Vix continues to push into EDM more with her next releases. Her most recent tracks before have sort of toggled back and forth between synthwave rock and trap/breakbeat. She’s definiely worth a look for the EDM fan who enjoys indie electro and syntwave, and no matter what direction she heads in next, fans can rest assured she’s not stopping any time soon and whatever she comes up with will be interesting, intense and a bit “strange.”

“Mr. Strange” is out now and can be streamed or purchased here.

 



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