We are talking about a four-member group born in 2016 which this year reached am enviable double goal: first album released and first one man live show at Shibuya WWW. The mini-album we will talk about is a compilation of the first singles and some never recorder before songs, “Progressive-Be-Bop” and “Kigurumi Planet”; moreover, the latter contains the contribution of the multi-instrumentalist Tim Donahue, known for in the prog scene as a musician and as harp-guitar producer.
It seems everything is in the correct place to make an interesting group and xoxo EXTREME don’t betray expectations: their music naturally mixes progressive rock’s complex stuff with the typical idol brightness, with odd tempos and dynamic basslines giving way to catchy pop choruses. Organs, flutes and various synths show how the work of the musicians isn’t just accompanying the four girl’s voices, often including long and elaborate instrumental parts in line with the genre.
The opening track “Utsu” is a perfect sum of everything said up to now: despite a title meaning depression, the chorus brings a nice amount of cheerfulness in a not very simple or linear song in which we can find synths and evocative, introspective passages. The prog side of the music is explred in many directions: “Progressive Be-Bop” relies on the organ parts and on a full of energy rhythmic section to build a very dynamic song; on the other hand, “Kigurumi Planet” get more into epic and dramatic stuff in which Japanese-sounding vocal lines blends with operatic singing, evolving to include even neoclassical influences.
Then, “Weekend Fantasia” is the most standard track, almost completely distant from the progressive sound, being actually fully j-pop; after all, it’s a nice proof that the unit can adapt to different styles, an ability used even more in “Ele-Fun-t Girl’s Talk”: this song is as strange as interesting, thanks to a combination of intense rhythms, electronic influences and idol-like vocals together with some sort of prog-experimental vein particularly strong in some passages.
All in all, Works Collection #1 is a good way get to know xoxo EXTREME: the potential of their music is apparent since the first listenings and the unique features of their sound hits the mark. I guess we should keep an eye on this unit, no doubts about it.
|Album:||Works Collection #1|