Sunday 21 February 2016

New Music: XYLØ - Bang Bang

You’re a music fan right? Of course you are. After all you wouldn’t be reading a music blog if you weren’t. 

So as you’re a fan, I’m going to ask you the million and one dollar question…

What kind of music do you like?

It’s the question I really hate being asked. I consider myself a HUGE music fan. I buy a lot of records, I go and see a lot of gigs, I spend nearly all of my free time when I’m not asleep or at work listening to music. Yet when I’m asked this question, I give the lamest answer: “I like all sorts really.”

It’s such a weak response, but it’s true. 

There are some music fans that have specific tastes and like to stick well within their comfort zones. At the extreme level these fans decree anything that doesn’t fall within their narrow frame of reference as being rubbish. 

But I pretty much like a bit of everything – I can be excited and surprised by anything from hip-hop to pop, from folk to techno. But if you want an explanation of why I like so many different sounds and what it is that grabs me about any particular piece of music to make me really adore it, I struggle to find a concise answer. In fact if I try to self-analyse and pigeon hole what it actually is, it probably would ruin my enjoyment. 

But one thing that I do know is that I love the element of surprise. And whilst I'm sure there are many who like the safety of a musical comfort blanket, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there like me. It’s why artists like Bowie or Queen were able to have such long successful careers – they managed to constantly surprise their fans with changes in direction whilst keeping the quality high. And conversely a band like Oasis became a model of ever decreasing returns as they set off on a downhill trajectory of more of the same with each album they released.

Which brings me to XYLØ

It’s one of the inevitabilities of pop that when something is successful there will be influence and imitation and certainly there are plenty of acts trying to break through at the moment that sound ‘a little bit Lana’. When I first featured XYLØ in 2015 that’s exactly how I described them. After a small number of releases I thought (like many a music blogger) I had their sound sussed. But now XYLØ  have thrown in a curve ball.

And curve is the operative word here. For new song Bang Bang, which clocks in at just over 2 minutes, reminds me a little of a modern day version of early 90’s alt-rockers Curve. You want some other reference points? Ok. Try Death In Vegas, The Go Team and a softer Sleigh Bells for starters. Bang Bang is grittier, dirtier, trashier and punchier than anything the brother sister duo have produced to date. This one’s the musical equivalent of kick boxing – with some very fast solid punches thrown in for good measure.

XYLØ - Bang Bang

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