[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Another stab into what hasn’t yet been done, more time spent hacking away at the fine details of electronic composition. I begin to see why XMTP are continuing to stick around even though not a lot of people are bothering to pay attention anymore: they’ve become less of a band or institution and more an elemental force of nature. No, there aren’t sugary hits for the clubs and there aren’t deranged rage-infused diatribes against animal experimentation or political unrest. This lot have moved on. Completely.
Picking up where their last record left off, Sevren Ni-Arb, Estefania and Raive Yarx continue to abandon the formulaic sound which brought them so much adulation in the 90s. They don’t knock you over with bombast nor do they bother trying to re-create past glories. The song is what matters to them and they’ll do whatever they must to bring it out to it’s utmost conclusion. I’ve harped on this before but I’ll mention it again: pop music has no place in this kind of music. Some cynics will accuse them of doing precisely this but then a lot of them have disliked the band ever since female vocals began getting incorporated… as though the “purity” of this act’s sound had somehow been taken away.
Allow me to retort: this is not 1991, 1992 or 1993. Nor is it the era of ‘Facer’ which so many want back more than they want their own eyes. New sounds, new approaches and new vitality infuse this record and run through it like wildfire. Nothing is immediate, you have to wait and allow them to reveal the end results. Each and every song on here is an individual, this isn’t the result of some assembly line; finely honed artistry is the order of the day on ‘The House of Rain’
These are tunes which define a time and place in the lives of those who have created them, common decency demands that we as fans and listeners accord them the respect they deserve and hear them out. No skipping tracks, no snide dismissals; you will play this through to the bitter end or you just shouldn’t bother listening. It isn’t easy to do what this outfit do. Now that the new direction has been unveiled, who can say what their fan base is anymore. What with genres shifting by the hour and fickle attention spans decreasing exponentially it takes a lot of nerve to compose a richly detailed work like this.
I could give you the standard breakdowns of effects, bass lines, beats and vocals but I’m not going to. I’m going to ask that you who know them go out and listen for yourselves. That goes double for anyone who doesn’t; these last two records they have made are beyond anything which could have been expected. Challenge yourself, X Marks The Pedwalk certainly have. More sleek electronic anthems for the grown-ups and thank god for that. Don’t ever stop.