Solex – Pick Up – Review


Pick Up (Matador)
by Michael McCarthy

If Tricky and April March married their music, this would be their daughter. The music of Solex (real name: Elisabeth Esselink) really is that interesting. The gal knows what to do with a good sample (and she collected most of hers at live shows, ranging from metal to classical), yet she’s done a fine job of making her music sound as organic as Kodo drummers. She definitely does not come across like the latest, ahem, electronica babe. That’s good, because with Dido, DJ Rap, Ma, and the like, the market is just too damn flooded with ’em already (though I’m quite fond of the three I’ve just mentioned, for the record).

The story of Solex is somewhat inspiring. She owned a secondhand record store in Amsterdam. One day she bought an old eight-track recorder at an auction. She immediately went to work with it, sampling stuff from the CDs nobody would buy, and was turning her samples into songs seemingly overnight. She completed an album’s worth of these songs and sent it to record labels. And here she is with her second release already. I just wish her songs were more like songs and less like, I don’t know, an indie film score. I meant it when I said the music is interesting, but her lyrics are silly (the press notes call ’em “imaginary conversations she had on the toilet”) and her vocals are often too far back in the mix for you to hear them. When I’m sitting at home with the stereo cranked and virtually no background noise, I want the voice to be a bit more distinguishable than it is when I’m sitting in a crowded cafe full of loud caffeine-heads. When I listen to “Dork At 12 O’Clock” or “Pick Up,” I feel like I’m in a pick-up joint, wishing those idiots at the bar would shut the fuck up so I could understand the lyrics. Hmm… maybe Solex is playing a joke on me? Even if it’s not funny, I guess she does a fine enough job getting to the punchline that I’ll keep listening.