Saturday, November 25, 2017

Look Again: A Word About The New Virginia Wing And Xam Duo Album

The unlikely marriage of the minds of bands Virginia Wing and Xam Duo has produced a striking album here. Tomorrow's Gift, out on Friday via Fire Records, is a bold and brave release, one that skirts at the edges of the avant-garde and yet which remains fairly accessible for attentive listeners.

Virginia Wing are Sam Pillay and Alice Merida Richards and Xam Duo are Matthew Benn of Hookworms and Christopher Duffin of Deadwall. In teaming up here, the electronic pop portions of previous Virginia Wing releases have found an almost unlikely match in the more languid indie textures from the guys from Deadwall and Hookworms. Even though opener "Birch Polygon" oozes out for more than 20 minutes with a kind of No Pussyfooting insistence, shorter numbers, like the lovely "Look Again", play to the strengths of these players, expanding on the slight Stereolab-isms of earlier Virginia Wing records to offer up something totally unique. Elsewhere, the title cut works a slight and sublime rhythm, while "Good Roads Fair Weather" hints at the kind of risk-taking that saw the Cocteau Twins drift towards near-ambient music in the mid-Nineties. Playing to the strengths of vocalist Alice Merida Richards, this number is one of the highlights here on Tomorrow's Gift. "Person to Person" near the end of the record rides a nice groove forward, while album closer "A Tunnel" uses spoken-word passages to further the band's experimental ends.

One of the more adventurous records a listener is likely to encounter at year's end, Tomorrow's Gift is out on Friday via Fire Records.

[Photo: Uncredited promotional picture]