Xex :: Xex:Change (Dark Entries)

A new wave narrative is at the heart of their sound, a fresh faced exuberance coupled with a critical eye. Experimental, intelligent and a tad tripped out.

Dark Entries is the one of the most productive labels I know. Label boss Josh Cheon is constantly reviving material and bringing it to vinyl. Six albums have already been unearthed this year, and six more are on the horizon. Two new names are being added to the roster with a veteran group of the San Fran imprint returning for more. Xex hail from New Jersey. In the early 1980, with an arty outlook, a pair of torn jeans and some music equipment, this group of misfits released Group:Xex. After their first LP this queer quintet receded into the shadows, their name arising from time to time in synthpunk circles. Dark Entries resurrected Group:Xex in 2011. Unbeknownst to most, in1981 Xex returned to the studio but sadly with an empty pocket. The follow-up album was never released, shelved and the group disbanded. Fast forward some thirty. Xex:Change is being brushed down, spruced up and finally pressed.

Group:Xex was characterized by strong lyrics, steeped in political euphemisms, and a raw angry sound. Social commentary is at the forefront of Xex:Change. The driving beat of “Fast Food” compares the consumerist uptake of burger and fries to the throw away attitude that embodied the 1980s. Rhetoric is piled atop polemics, all to a stark beat and emptied melodies. “Trust in Machine” is a more a mantra than a track before “Fun in the Sun” echoes The Flirts “On The Beach,” the latter being mutated into a slo-fi piece of darkened Industrial pop.  Chords cascade for the speed blasted “Vietnam Vet”, you can imagine the themes explored from the title. “Heartbeat” is a fantastically clever piece of Electro Wave discourse. Catchy quality from Xex. Arguably the track of the album with its pacey rhythm and detached vocals. “Dance of the Limbless” closes. Tongue in cheek lyrics coax and wheedle to close this haze filled artwork.

As a bonus, the LP contains a DVD of a live performance by Xex from 1981. This DVD addition is being introduced to a few Dark Entries releases and looks like it might become a new feature of the label. Very nice way to give some added insight into such a historic period for music.

Xex personify youthful angst. Their sound grabs at new technology, devouring cheap machinery whilst turning an eye back to the post punk age. A new wave narrative is at the heart of their sound, a fresh faced exuberance coupled with a critical eye. Experimental, intelligent and a tad tripped out. Lament filled resignation to a synthesizer and drum machine.

Xex:Change is available on Dark Entries. [Release page]

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