Interior by XTR HumanRelease date: May 29, 2020
Label: Blackjack Illuminist Records/No Emb Blanc Records
Berlin-based XTR Human, led by the charismatic Johannes Stabel, continue to evolve their somewhat dystopian, filtered sunlit sound on this latest release. The excellent opening track ‘With a Smile’ evokes classic post punk, yet marries it to upbeat synth pop in a unique sonic mélange. The buzzing guitars, driving rhythm section, and Stabel’s enticing vocal lines create a solid foundation for the entire record.
‘On A Greater Scale’ is downright effervescent in spots, with its bright instrumental passages and chorus. It leads the listener and reminds us of 90s Britpop, all in a good way. ‘Masks of Faith’ treads a darker path, populated by Joy Division and other bands of that ilk. Even as the pulsating bass pummels your ears, you will find yourself soothed by keyboard washes.
‘On Miracles’ unfolds at a slower pace and seems more introspective, right before you hit the crescendo on the chorus. ‘Dreams’ has a heavy bass line and a somewhat melancholy air, but the main melody will raise your spirits. ‘Hearst’ has a grand hook at its dark heart, while the head bobbing ‘Darkest Side’ could have slid straight off a late 80s post punk album. The release finishes with the aptly named ‘Goodbye’, which relies heavily on brightly painted synth lines and poppy guitar. A very enjoyable listen from start to finish.