April 15, 2022
Singer-songwriter Alex Giannascoli, known as Alex G, has come a long way since he first started making eclectic, mostly guitar-based indie tracks in his room as a teen. But even as he's progressed, the Haverford, Delaware County native has never shed his adolescent bedroom pop sensibilities.
That's why Alex G was such a good candidate to write the soundtrack for "We're All Going to the World's Fair," a coming-of-age horror movie about a teenager named Casey going through a personal transformation on the internet. The movie's director, Jane Schoenbrun, drew inspiration from their experience as a teenager growing up outside New York City.
The film will hit Philadelphia theaters Friday, April 22, according to Fandango.
The movie is centered on an online horror game called the "World's Fair Challenge." Casey, played by Anna Cobb, begins playing the game, which promises to make its participants go crazy.
To get involved, she must say, "I want to go to the World's Fair," three times, prick her finger and smear the blood onto her computer screen.
From there, Casey is launched into the game, where binges "creepypasta" videos and attempts to connect with other players, including an anonymous older man, played by Michael J. Rogers, in an empty mansion.
Schoenbrun, who is transgender and non-binary, established the low-budget film's atmosphere with found footage techniques, webcam confessionals shot on Photo Booth and consumer-grade cameras, all of which are meant to make the movie seem more life-like and relatable.
Schoenbrun told the New York Times they realized they were transgender while making the movie, which was shot right before the COVID-19 pandemic. By the time it started premiering at festivals earlier this year, where it was well-received, Schoenbrun already was taking hormone replacement therapy.
In terms of performance techniques and sonic palettes, the soundtrack is in many ways a throwback for Giannascoli.
Much of it sounds more similar to his 2014 album "DSU," which has a darker, more alternative tone than his more recent releases like 2019's "House of Sugar," which utilizes a folky live band aesthetic.
That's particularly true of the last track on the release "End Song," which was released as a single along with the opener, "Main Theme," in recent weeks.
The finale is the only track on the release to prominently feature Giannascoli's signature breathy vocals, which is one of the main threads holding together the rest of his eclectic discography.
But when it comes to production and composition, it feels like Giannascoli covers some new ground.
Many of the new tracks are clearly crafted with a specific scene in mind. The third track, "Casey's Walk," is a seven-minute atmospheric dirge that features bright synths punching unpredictably though a digital haze.
But a lot of the cinematic songs are short and loop-based, like the fourth track, "You're in Trouble." Its layered guitars and cinematic orchestral punches provide an enveloping environment for its haunting, high-pitched vocals.
Another track in that vein is perhaps the catchiest on the release. "Typing Game" is only 48 seconds long, but the simple, old-school, Nintendo-themed song is the type that could be listened to on a loop endlessly.
It's followed by another dark track featuring one of the most striking production choices on the release. The deep, punishing orchestral strings that start the song are slowly filtered out and replaced by a series of haunting, clean guitar chords.
The release came out on Milan Records, an imprint of Sony, but Giannascoli is not listed on the company website's artist page. He is still listed as an artist on the roster of Domino Records, the London-based independent label that's put out all his other releases since 2015.
"We're All Going to World's Fair" is now available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.