Taylor Hughes, better known as pure xtc, is a pretty busy individual; Performing on the main stage at the Kansas City PrideFest, opening for Dayglow and Dashboard Confessional, a prominent United States tour including a performance at The Dinah, and the release of an IPA with Crane Brewing.
Now, the energetic enigmatic shadow that is pure xtc is following up her debut EP, Nobody’s Home, with the release of her second EP, shed my skin. But are these three new tracks worth a listen? Or, is the shadow of anxiety and self-doubt coming to rain on Taylor Hughes’ parade? Let’s find out.
One-two gut punch, “shadow” strips back the shy personalities of the past, and sees pure xtc step into a new light, filled with confidence and pop-rock mastery.
“Lately I’m fighting with my shadow,” keeping true to her on-the-pulse relatable qualities, what Taylor Hughes manages to accomplish with “shadow” is beautifully breathtaking, resonating on a personal level, letting listeners in and keeping her sound fresh.
Instrumentally, “shadow” is probably my favorite track released by pure xtc; it’s fun, enticing, and pushes my heartbeats quickly enough to be a fantastic companion piece for gym visits where self-doubt tends to take center stage. This is a track from an artist who has shown immense growth over a year, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.
Nobody’s Home who? That album should just get lost. All jokes aside, “get lost” continues pure xtc’s newfound disco groove and will keep feet moving, hips shaking, and the neon-tinged sunset glowing through the beat. This track represents an artist ready to take over the music scene and fill the void of cliche melodies for memory-filled dance fevers.
There’s just something extra fulfilling while getting lost in the array of sounds on display within “get lost” that keeps me hitting the replay button, singing along to every lyric, feeling every note vibration, and Taylor Hughes’ infectious vocal delivery that newer listeners should fall in love with her brand of pop-rock instantly.
I’ll confess to singing “I wanna get lost” over and over again while taking part in the mundane aspects of life, utilizing the track as an escape to a beach town at sunset. The track is so good I wouldn’t be surprised if it became my most-played song of the year, beating out “Edging” by blink-182. Disco-pop perfection is what listeners can expect when jumping into “get lost,” so best put your dancing shoes on.
What the fuck Taylor? That’s all? I’m selfish, don’t you know? I NEED more. Just shoot your tunes straight into my veins. The final puzzle piece of her sophomore EP, “shed my skin,” keeps the neon-glazed aspect of “shadow” and “get lost,” never once missing a step as dance moves become as quick as silhouettes masked in emotion, leaving me dancing with my own shadow.
The short story beats throughout shed my skin come to a life-giving close, leaving listeners on the dance floor, senses buzzing with each note, getting lost in the sweet melodies of Taylor Hughes, who has done nothing but improve with each new song.
With “shed my skin,” pure xtc is ready for the world, leaving it all to the wind-driven neon-dream pipelines of tomorrow. “What if I try to shed my skin for you?” A lyrical line so relatable it hit me back to each moment of my life I attempted to step out of my own doubts and restraints. I once again have to say I NEED more. Now, off to re-listen over and over again.
What Taylor Hughes does perfectly with pure xtc is fill that need for “more,” and shed my skin is that example on full display. To say I’m surprised by pure xtc’s new release would be an understatement, this EP is Taylor Hughes in beast mode, and I’m excited to see where these new songs will take one of my favorite drummers turned vocalists.
I can’t get enough of this new sound; it’s hypnotic and kept me dancing, feeling alive while getting lost in the neon soundscape. Taylor Hughes hit this EP out of the park, and I can’t wait to hear these new songs filling the walls of The Wiltern in the not-so-far future.