Despite the surprise release of single "New House", Rex had remained relatively quiet since Apricot Princess, which he credits to a difficult and uninspiring year. However, after his year-long hiatus, Alex O'Connor returns with a fresh but familiar blend of pop and soul - a reminder of what we have been missing.
The first song from the album, '10/10', is an uncharacteristic introduction. A loud concoction of synths accompanied by auto-tuned vocals that severely detract from his often-charming voice. Understandably, this was a stylistic choice to perhaps garner a different audience, but it feels misplaced. Thankfully, Rex quickly returns to form with the next song 'Always', which bursts with colour. The swelling trumpets and occasional jingle set a relaxed, uplifting mood that follows throughout.
Rex boasts his newfound optimism on Pony; a change from his usual solitary lyrics. His well-established relationship with Thea, also a singer, is undoubtedly a force behind this. This change of heart is characterised by the upbeat and cheery anthem, "Never Had The Balls". Still, we are offered a dose of nostalgia with "Pluto Projector", a tender reflection on the close bond between the pair. In typical fashion, his more sentimental moments on this song are flush with violins, reminiscent of "Apricot Princess".
Pony is an album of acceptance. 'It's Not The Same Anymore' he reasons. Life changes, people change, and so do you. But no matter how dark things may seem, Rex Orange County assures us that it gets better.