Scottish singer-songwriter Linda Harrison has previously released several tracks under her own name but is now better known by her current stage persona Elle Exxe. Taking up the sassy pop mistress baton, Elle Exxe is no Katy Perry or Charlie XCX, she's more musically dynamic and has developed her own brand of dirty pop rather than riding with the pack.
Love Fuelled Hate, her debut album opens with Lately and Lost in L.A, two stomp rock tracks with plenty of raw punk attitude and bluesy sexuality. It's dirty dark pop with more than a speckling of early 80s electronica. There's a heavy weight towards thumping drum sounds and grungy, crunching guitars which add to the distinctive dirty sound throughout the album. I do, an a capella track with the use of vocoder adding to the warming sound of a church organ. The melody line carries the song so well that you can easily fill in the gaps of silence with your own accompaniment, should you feel it's necessary.
Sick is a love song of unusual paradoxes, where Harrison chooses to focus on the emotional response to that heady feeling, rather than the Hollywood wide eyes and gloss – which often makes you literally heave with the overpowering cheese. Thankfully there's no such schmaltz here. Lie To Me and W.T.F are defiant, explicit and have more attitude and ego than the US presidential elections. The Hammer has the dynamic swagger of 80s chart topping tracks, but with the unsanitary vibes of the naughties. Shoot is a gigantic finger up to the haters as Harrison demands "start getting a life and get the fuck out of mine."
The entire album has a feel of a brazen girls night out and girl power without the saccharine coating. Referencing Lady Gaga, Blondie and other pop icons along the way. Fearless, fierce, trashy, alternating between glittering rose-tinted romance to impenitent and hedonistic youth culture. Don't be fooled into thinking that Elle Exxe is a one trick pony, there's plenty here in more serious moments like I Understand and White Lies to indicate a mature level of songwriting and exploration of emotion outside the youthful exterior. It may summarises youth culture but it's also attempting to re-write the pop rulebook. It's a sophisticated, well-constructed, game-changing debut pop album.
Groupie Rating: 4/5