Electro indie-pop doesn’t get much cuter or more enjoyable than Mixel Pixel’s latest, Let’s Be Friends. The Brooklyn trio sings about friendship, cats, and more on their newest album, and while it could come off as too twee and special, they luckily leaven things with humor and harmony. They also vary up their sound just enough to keep things interesting, without going off the reservation.
Friends opens with the melodic, catchy indietronic pop of “What Ever Happened To One”, which sets things off on the right note. The duet vocals of visual artist Rob Corradetti and “neuroscientist/lip balm specialist” Kaia Wong play well on that track and throughout the album. Mixel Pixel takes things more orchestral and grand on the following “Sinking Feeling”, then bright with “Favorite Sweatshirt On”. Things go fuzzier and expansive on “Great Invention”, but the title track brings the record back to its indie-pop roots.
The second half of Friends isn’t as strong as its first, but there is still much to recommend it. “Cats” may have an eighties wistfulness to it, but it’s also funny. There’s more of a country vibe to “You Could Be” and “So Regal (Tigershark Kiss)”, country-twang on the former, country-soul on the latter. Single “Fake Girlfriend” easily stands out as the strongest track on the other side of the record, winning indie-pop with a great drum machine beat. Unfortunately, the subsequent indietronic pop of “Last Song” isn’t the finisher, as the album instead ends with the too sweet, too cloying “Distant Station”, its weakest piece.
Now on their fifth record, Mixel Pixel finds themselves brighter and more poppy than their last, 2006’s Music For Plants. To some, their music will probably always seem too cute and endearing. But to fans of indietronica and indie-pop, this is the continuation of a beauuuuuuu-tiful friendship…