Clan of Xymox
ritain is heating up. Excessive amounts of noxious bile, spewed out in deadly waves of ignorance by yammering middle class types demanding lower fuel prices for their twelve new cars, have finally resulted in disastrous levels of global warming occurring during the normally crisp month of September. As a result, tremendous pressure is being placed upon two stalwart bastions of polite English society; the inalienable right to enjoy dour music in the autumn like decent, honest folk and the unwritten law which dictates that men in this country must never wear shorts. Even in wartime. With pasty-white chicken legs tastefully covered, then, it is to the fine nation of Holland that we must turn for our fill of electro-gothic nonsense. So draw the curtains, dim the lights and for god’s sake put away that sun lounger.
If you put The Cure, Depeche Mode and The Sisters of Mercy in a giant blender, you’d have just killed three decent bands. Or done the world a tremendous favour, depending upon your point of view. Disturbing bandicide fantasies aside, Clan of Xymox fairly shamelessly draw influence from each of these acts—just so we know where we are. If I’m understanding the deeply complex terminology of goth rock correctly, Xymox’s general acceptance of electronic aspects also allows me to nudge them firmly toward the little glow-stick covered box with ‘darkwave’ written on it. Are we all feeling happily pigeon-holed now? Marvellous.
Such a willing embrace of danceable shenanigans produces something of a dilemma, however. Should one attempt to recreate a club-ish atmosphere in their own home before listening to obvious floor-filling antics like “Cold Damp Day”? You could flick your own crudely backcombed hair into your eyes, spill beer over yourself and press your ear to a speaker until the distortion bounces your brain around like a hyperactive hamster in a rollerball. Oh yes, and dance like a morbid princess trapped inside a tiny glass tube. Or you could just listen and nod along, thinking about how cool it would be to dance like a morbid princess trapped inside a tiny glass tube to this record. Either way, things don’t feel quite as they should.
Fortunately there’s more traditional fare to appreciate while you ponder if the strobe lighting rig will fit over the cooker. “One More Time” combines its jangly guitar lines and synthetic orchestral pretensions without remorse, imploring to be joined in that most curious of paradoxes: upbeat misery. A similar road is taken by “Losing My Head”, staying the right side of decapitation references to deliver a swooping, lovelorn lament. And if flouncy sighing in puffy sleeved shirts isn’t really your style, you’ll have to stick to more industrial grooves provided by “There’s No Tomorrow” (with bonus soundbites from a film I couldn’t identify).
Chances are you’d be able to hear the best cuts from this album by attending your local goth night (bring your own virgin sacrifice; no trainers). If your commitment to angst ridden loneliness doesn’t permit you to leave the house though, you could do a lot worse than sticking Farewell on in the kitchen and wafting forlornly around to the solid electro-industrial-darkwave-gothtronica it provides. Not in this heat though. Even the bats are wearing sunscreen.
Reviewed by: Peter Parrish
Reviewed on: 2004-09-08