‘Toons’ is the cute and melancholic debut EP from Auckland band Pixels. Their songs are leisurely and spacey, utilising synths and the occasional vocal effect to give songs a robotic feeling, creating a point of difference within the sad-cute-indie-pop aesthetic. Lukas Hanson’s (The Psychs) vocals are lovely and his lyrics are bittersweet. Hanson’s music explores ambivalence: mixed feelings in relationships, nostalgia, and the effect of our dependency on technology on the human experience. This ambivalence is exemplified by wistful and tired lyrics carried by a fun tone and sweet melodies. Produced by Lukas Hanson and Isaac Tollestrup (Hartebeest), the tracks are delicately arranged and nicely produced. Melodies are echoed with synth lines, the guitar is gently placed only where it’s needed, and the bass steadily bops along with not a single unneeded note. The mixing is gentle but full, resulting in a nicely crafted five track EP. The songs are so well put together and tonally cohesive that instrumental versions could easily be the score to a retro video game. Pixels are reminiscent of indie pop groups like Goodshirt and Merk, but their sound is definitely not limited by the genre. It is much less reliant on guitar, and more about picking and choosing the right instrument for each part.