Is it the early ’90s again? Swervedriver did a tour, the Trashcan Sinatras are doing some dates, the Verve had a new record out a little while ago, and shoegazing seems to be coming back into vogue, if bands like the Morning After Girls are any indication. Dreamy, dark, and layered, Los Angeles’ Xu Xu Fang have made their offering to the altar, with Seven Days Now. The EP has only five songs, but the 10-minute epic “Where is Everybody?” thickens the record nicely.
Seven Days Now opens with a rather faithful version of the Cure’s “Fascination Street,” the major differences from the original being that Xu Xu Fang has given some added texture to the song with some underlying scratchy vinyl pops and Barbara Cohen’s ethereal vocals pay gorgeous homage to Robert Smith. Add in a flute to carry the melody, and it is a lovely version, indeed.
“Seven Days Now” is a meandering bit of psychedelia with more angelic vocals. It’s murkier and eerier than most slices of shoegaze. “Your Way” invokes IDM electronica reminiscent of Mike Paradinas’ Mu-Ziq moniker. “Underground” is a jaunty and upbeat affair, yet still kind of goth, but atypical of the rest of the record. For a five-song release, the record is actually fairly disjointed, but not to its detriment.
“Where is Everybody?” is the standout track, a brew distilled from the somewhat disparate parts in the preceding songs. A long and eerie and very ethereal introduction gives way to a goth-tronic body that is dense and heavy and very Black Sabbath at times. The song takes a while to get going, and Xu Xu Fang makes you work for it for a good seven minutes or so, but the payoff is beauteous. And then all of a sudden you are wandering in empty space as the track winds down and perhaps asking yourself, “Where is everybody, indeed?”