Saturday, July 1, 2017

Album Review: Xtasy - Second Chance

When we talk about melodic rock, specifically the kind that makes great reference to the 80s, there's something about the music that is usually charming, but often underwhelming. I'm not sure why, but a lot of the artists trying to recreate those days are able to match the production techniques of the time, but they lack the songs. Or rather, what is really happening is that these bands remind us of how much we overrate the music from the 80s. If you actually give an honest listen back to a lot of those songs, they aren't nearly as good as thirty years of memories would have you to believe.

Xtasy is a newcomer to this world, but they're one who caught my attention when I came across the video for their single, "Into The Fire". That song opens this album, and it's a blistering bit of melodic perfection. There's a hint of crunch to the guitars, but it's all about the shimmering synths in the background of that classic hook. The song has one of those choruses that you find yourself humming along with by the end of the first time you listen to it. It's this kind of track that people are thinking about when they talk nostalgically about the 80s.

There's a certain touchstone Xtasy reminds me of. Between the pacing, the tones, and Silvia's vocals, I can't help but be reminded more than a bit of Alyson Avenue, particularly their album "Presence Of Mind". Considering that I feel that album is one of the most underrated gems of the early 2000s melodic rock scene, rekindling that spirit is undoubtedly a good thing.

The opening run of tracks, "Into The Fire", "One In A Million", and "Under The Gun" set the stage with a crunchy, arena-ready sound that would have ruled the 80s. The hooks on the songs are sweet melodies, big enough to have crowds singing along in one of those poorly-produced, black and white slow motion music videos from back in the day. I definitely feel like I've stepped into a time machine.

"Said And Done" is, if possible, even more stereotypical of the time, and is one I could easily hear being a companion song to "Heaven Is A Place On Earth". If you told me it was a Belinda Carlisle song, or someone like her, from back in the day, I would absolutely believe you. The one track I'm not sold on here is "Broken Heart", and not because it's a bad song. The way it's produced, with Silvia letting the backing vocals carry much of the chorus isn't something I would have done, because they don't have the power her voice does to do the heavy lifting. I know what they were going for, but it didn't quite work there.

Overall, "second Chance" doesn't need to be given one. If you like 80s rock at all, this will appeal to you. There's a lot of bands that try to do this kind of music, but aren't very good at it. Xtasy definitely are. This is one of the better 80s sounding records in a while. "Second Chance" is a throwback in the best sense of the word. Call this one a nice little surprise.

No comments:

Post a Comment