As a teenager, Lexie Papilion made a name for herself as a competitive surfer. She was a member of the USA Surf Team at just 15-years old, slicing through A-frames and spinning 360s with ease. A decade later, Papilion is taking the finesse, guile, and courage she demonstrated on the Pacific Ocean and applying them to her new music project, Bloodboy.
Her new challenge is no longer facing the monstrosity of a 25-foot wave or unforeseen rip tides. She instead faces the daunting of task of swimming upstream against the wave of aspiring musicians. Then there are the lurking sharks waiting to criticize her every move should she falter. But like her previous life as a competitive surfer, Papilion is meeting the challenge head first and winning fans over with her individuality and diverse music, which is evidenced on her debut EP.
Best of Bloodboy mirrors Papilion the athlete – versatile, confident, and fearless. The EP is not singular in its approach nor sound, but it spans indie pop, indie rock, alt-rock, and post-punk. It’s not dependent on catchy, repetitive lyrics nor driven by a single theme. On the contrary, what Papilion has created is a wide-ranging album that is equally entertaining yet lyrically and thematically challenging.
The opener, “Fuck Yourself”, personifies Papilion’s multiplicity, introducing a woman who is setting her own course and not letting anyone distract her. While “Mom, I’ve Changed” is a stirring, catchy pop tune in the Ladyhawke mould, Papilion reveals her soul. The song is part a story of separation and another of forgiveness. This isn’t Bloodboy singing, but Papilion offering something akin to a confession. Similarly on “Drunk You”, Papilion is naked, swimming in an ocean filled with hurtful memories. Papilion’s vocals quiver with pain while the Angel Olsen-esque guitar tinges elevate the emotion in the song.
When the Bloodboy mask is put on, a whole different side is revealed. The competitor. The entertainer. The star. No song demonstrates this more than “Keep Your Disease”. The track is a mind-blowing monster that merges post-punk with indie rock. Not since Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll” has someone brilliantly brought these two genres together. It’s cathartic, intense, and deliriously intoxicating. Yet the aggressiveness in her voice is channeled at someone who has committed a crime against her, and she’s taking it out on him. “Hey Kid” is arguably the EP’s most melodic and shimmering pop single. The song, however, is anything but sweet and sugary, but an honest account of helplessly watching someone destroy herself. This is gripping songwriting at its finest.
The EP concludes with Papilion’s first single, “Human Female”, which made Bloodboy a trending name across the blogosphere and Hype Machine. The song encapsulates Papilion’s growth, transformation, and complexity. The surfer, the entertainer, the artist, the singer-songwriter, and the woman are all revealed on this beautifully cinematic and euphoric song. It is also the perfect ending to an EP that is not only full of surprises but is one of the most rewarding albums of the year. Forget about being the Queen of the Surf; Papilion is riding a wave to be the Queen of Indie.
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