See: Alyssa Gengos shapes up for her 2022 album as a pretty awesome ‘Cheerleader Of The Universe’

Alyssa Gengos, photographed by Sam Setzer

LOS ANGELINO bedroom pop genius Alyssa Gengos is basically someone to completely watch in 2022.

We’ve already nailed our colours to that mast on the back of her last single, the effortlessly excellent “Gothenburg English” – see our swooning coverage of that, here; and making us feel a whole lot more like we haven’t made an at all risky bet, here comes confirmation in another classy, classic single drop, in which Alyssa looks at how to be a “Cheerleader For The Universe”.

Alyssa left her base in NYC 18 months or so ago to return to her childhood city, LA, from there to really get it on with her songcraft and work up a new album, this time under her real name. (She’s been making music as Kythira since the age of 14.)

It’s entirely self-produced, that is composed, played, and mixed; all save the drums, which were digitally mapped and then recorded live. But working solo, that’s entirely all good with her.

“I feel most comfortable when I’m completely alone,” she says. “I just spent a lot of time alone at home. And I didn’t live near any of my friends either. So, I was never playing music with other people as a kid when I started.

“It’s what I’m used to, and that actually is what taught me to be really vulnerable. Not like the other way around. I don’t seek out solitude because I want to be vulnerable. I’m used to solitude, so that allows me to be vulnerable.”

Her latest drop is just … I mean, surely you’ve known this song for years, right? Whispered, honeyed vocals, a classic approach to songcraft that calls to mind The Go-Go’s, Belly, Juliana Hatfield and The Shangri-Las, among others. It’s as natural and welcome as a warm summer breeze. Cute, excellent; wholly a track to fall in love with, and to.

She cites influences including The Beatles’ 1 compilation that her parents bought her from Costco, Avril Lavigne’s Let Go and Hilary Duff’s Metamorphosis; as well as Arctic Monkeys and MGMT, Panda Bear and Todd Rundgren. 

She says of this, her third single en route to that album, Mechanical Sweetness, coming in the new year for Egghunt Records: ‘Cheerleader of the Universe’ is sort of surreal; it’s a bunch of associated phrases that form a comforting lullaby.

“I think of the cheerleader as the fairy godmother inside my own head. My grandma was a cheerleader, and so was my mother, and I became one in high school as well. I never really wanted to do that as a kid – I just kinda fell into it because my friends and I decided we’d all do it together. Still, I felt like I was doing some service continuing this cheerleader mythology that my grandma had started.

“Now, facing the next chapter of my life, I call upon the Cheerleader of the Universe for guidance.

“The music video is dreamlike, matching the sentiment of the lyrics. In it, I frolic across a Southern California beach in a dress I sewed myself.” All homespun, all deft, all swoonsome.

Alyssa Gengos’ Mechanical Sweetness will be released by Egghunt Records digitally, on trad black vinyl and on a hugely limited (100 only) Bandcamp white vinyl pressing on Friday, February 25th; to order your copy, get y’self over to Egghunt’s Bandcamp page without delay.

Connect with Alyssa elsewhere online at FacebookInstagramTwitter and TikTok.

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