It takes a while to figure out who Hannah Rodgers sounds like when she sings. At first, it seems like St Vincent, with Small Mercies and its opener, Andean Condor, not a million notes away from Annie Clark’s Strange Mercy, also released by 4AD.

Pixx Small Mercies

Then, when Mary Magdalene’s gloomy grunge kicks in, plus the revelation “I still pick my nose”, or maybe Bitch, with its clanging guitars and blunt lyrics – “You’re full of shit/ Still sucking on your momma’s tit” – Courtney Love leaps to mind instead.

But no: Pixx has a Teutonic, nasal twist to her delivery, not least on Disgrace’s driving, New Wave claustrophobia, which finally solves the puzzle: unlikely as it seems, she recalls Propaganda’s Claudia Brücken.

This similarity is especially prominent amid the bubbling electro-pop of Peanuts Grow Underground (whose enlightening title nevertheless barely connects to the song), while the robotic Eruption 24 further underlines the comparison, especially the manner in which Rodgers recites, “Oh how it thrills me when it comes down to this”.

But while Small Mercies presents a strong personality, and plenty of threatening moments, it’s a lot more lo-fi than if Trevor Horn had produced it. Next time, maybe?

6/10

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Wyndham Wallace

 

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