This is a review of "Untitled" recorded by Xi. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2002.
This is such a good idea, and such a good CD that everyone should know about it.
Xi have self-produced a three track demo CD that shows exactly where the band have got to after four years of steady graft and four drummers. Vocal recording (always tricky) and CD mastering have been done at Touchwood studio. The rest is done in the Xi vaults on an Akai machine with a pooter. The tracks will be available from the band's Web site, and future gigs will entail some free CDs featuring one or more of this set, plus other goodies from the archive. Onto the review.
Xi are a dark and heavy band, and Heavy is not my first love. But...
I saw them first at Leeds Town and Country Club alongside Insense (who were a bit light) in early 2000. I've kept half an eye on them ever since. What this CD will show, more than anything I can write, is how far they have come and how much more they are than just Heavy. If you've heard the very good mini-album "Learning", these tracks take it all one step further, in content and delivery.
They are very polished, very assured tracks with fiery music bursting out from the dark forms that guide it. Bass lines and drum patterns create a brooding and edgy mood. When needed they get big brutal and scary. There's no clichéed plodding, not even for a minute. This stuff is honed and battle ready. The emotional surges come from the voice and the guitars: the rhythm section provides a rock solid foundation for any amount of wixardry (looks better with an x, doesn't it?). And there's lots of inventive wixardry. Keyboards bring in scariness and freaked moodiness that keep it dramatic and contemporary.
Song structures are intelligent and shifting; dynamics are good; and tunes are just right. Xi have gone a long way beyond imitating the behemoths of the 70's. It sounds to me like they are now in the business of creating their own sound for a new generation of head juddering rock fiends, and pulling in some crossover fans in the process. The first 80 seconds of cold world (for Terry) are just great. A brilliant mix of sounds.
The tracks are: cold world (for Terry), headspace and not there anywhere. Xi are: doink: drums; legge: keys; bill: bass; flimsy john: guitars; and daz: singing and guitar.