[4 June 2009]
If you stumbled upon my review of their last EP, The Mourning Son, you already know about this group’s impressive blending of shoegaze and western-infused rock. And like that release, this EP, Seven Days Now, is a short, five-track affair at just under a half-hour. But even in its brevity, the effort is just as poignant and as powerful as most full-lengths. And this time around, the group has taken a more electronic spin on what made their previous record so successful.
Xu Xu Fang has jumped from psychedelic shoegaze to a blend of trip-hop and shoegaze with unbelievable ease. It translates gorgeously across each song, such as on “Seven Days Now”, a downtempo affair full of breathy female vocals eclipsed by heavy stoner riffs toward the end. Following in suit with that sound is “Your Way”, though it’s noisier and features more ambient sounds, and the group’s take on the Cure’s “Fascination Street”. The cover, though also heard on the tribute album Perfect As Cats, fits the vibe on here perfectly. It’s as mind-meltingly delicious as the original, though the thunderous drums and female vocals kick things up a notch. The band also succeeds when jumping outside of its comfort zone, like on the CD-only “Where Is Everybody”, a song made for arthouse soundtracks, and the fast-paced, foot-stomper “Underground”. They are both sonically out of place, yet they still fit within the EP’s boundaries. And that is what makes Xu Xu Fang both so much fun to listen to and just so damn good. If you need some shoegaze that sounds like it got in a fight with trip-hop and both genres came out smiling, then Seven Days Now is what you need.