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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Untitled (CD Demo)

Ok, ok. I admit that when I first got Xrayok's CD demo in the mail I put it on in the car and was kinda nonplussed to find out that I suddenly didn't have X-ray vision. Even worse, I didn't really grok the music. So, I filed it in the "review later" stack, the one that's nearly toppling over. But for some reason it made its way back to the top. I think maybe the stack fell over and I rearranged it in a different order. Anyhow, I gave it another listen and it has kind of grown on me a bit. Xrayok plays the type of alterna-pop that could easily fit in on major radio, but what they excel in is making it sound a bit more edgy. Singer TJ's voice reminds me of a local band we've reviewed called The Boxing Lesson, but for those that need familiar comparisons it's kind of like Thom Yorke and maybe Travis? And there's definitely a bit of brit-pop thing going on.

The first song of this 3 song demo, "Novacaine" is a high octane rocker that relies on the tried and true verse chorus verse emo-matic formula. Despite that, it's a nice song. I didn't like "No Solution" as much, especially the pre-chorus where the vocals do this thing that for lack of a better description sounds almost like a mini melodic rap alternating between a D and an E flat. I dunno, it's a little too self-conscious or something. "Born Into A World" has an apocalyptic feeling with TJ's fearsome voice rising to nearly a shriek near the end and equally haunting organ and keyboards all over the place. As with most discs like this, the little touches like organ, piano and background extras are what will set this type of music apart from other similar stuff.

I actually checked out their site and listened to track called "Crash" that wasn't on the CD that I got and this song was actually very, very good... for some reason I liked this better than any of the other songs on the CD. I think because it is less in your face. I like the emphasis on the spacey and spare, sort of like Air and Stereolab without as much of the electronica. I'm not sure whether this is their newer direction or if this is a remnant of past, but you should check this song out.

- review by RABBIT (11.1.03)        


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