Saturday, 13 October 2007

XBXRX 'WARS'

(Polyvinyl, 2007)

01 center where sight
02 freezing water
03 sheets and organs
04 here to ruin the party
05 eighth war
06 suffocation
07 minds
08 son of horn
09 in veins
10 towers of silence
11 day eleven
12 ear ever here

"There's a surprise at the start of XBXRX's third album: a four-minute song. The Oakland band's tunes rarely last longer than two minutes, so opening with the relatively epic "Center Where Sight" could be seen as a kind of "we're serious now" statement. And Wars does turn out to be the most serious XBXRX record so far. Intricate structures, jazzy stop-starts, and dramatic crescendos all suggest a new level of craft from this caffeinated post-hardcore outfit.

This is still XBXRX though-- Wars is, after all, only 27 minutes long-- and the band's raging momentum and endless energy persist. No extended solos or instrumental wankoffs here; this is resolutely a slamming punk record, just a little less Black Flag and a little more Minutemen than before. Hurtling forward with no interest in subtlety or restraint, XBXRX's music is as exhausting to listen to as it must be to play. But Wars is a step forward for a band who crashed out of the gate as teenagers and shows no signs of burnout a decade later."