Hailing in from France comes X Mouth Syndrome, a four man group which combines the vocals and dynamic energy found in punk with bass driving EBM lines and melodic synthpop for an overall package. The band has been around since 2008, and they have released both a demo titled Chrome III in 2012 and an EP in 2013 that actually had the title song of their newest album, Dirty Grace. And with the release of this new album, they join the ranks of EK Product, who has been expanding their operation for quite some time, and has even opened a small HQ in the States. And I will not be one to deny the fact that they chose quite a great act to join their label this time around; XMS’ Dirty Grace is dirty good.
It’s been six years since the band started. And it’s within those six years that XMS has come a long way, from the mere idea in the head of lead singer and headman Dragan Vujcic, to recruiting more talent along the way. Joining him are Liza on drums, Fred who operates keyboards, machines, and dives into the lyrical process as well, and Nico on guitar. These four together have created a band that not only deliver on six years worth of work, but also give an odd ode to musical eras of the past.
From the opening moments of the album with the well orchestrated instrumental “Balkan”, to the first moments we’re delivered the scratchy vocals in the title track “Dirty Grace”, I could see no wrong in getting through this entire album in one sitting. Changeups in vocal presentation come along in songs such as “Kill U With Fun”, wherein who I would expect to be Liza takes over the mic. And she does just as good a job, if not better, when Dragan was up front. Of course he does come along and contribute during the chorus, and two shots from a gun ring out to stop the energetic beat, and move the album forward.
I absolutely adored the duet singing that occurred in “Just Say”, as it was not only fun to listen to, but it was well executed. “Together” came across as another track that stood out; an echo attached to the main, lead vocals and a focus on synth work led me to adore it. Two tracks down, you’ll find the wonderfully retro sounding “The White Light”, which you should not skip out for the world, and the final song, “Russian Night” really surprised me with one last, hooking and catching track. It was one of those songs that made me want more, but I had to accept the fact (with a sole tear built up in my eye) that the album was over.
For a debut album, I’m impressed. These guys dedicated themselves to not only just release an album, but to take the time to release one where they spent time and love manufacturing it into something that they would enjoy. A side effect of that all that came in the form of an audience enjoying and listening to the music that they put out. And I’m part of that audience.
The album is available now from EK Product, so go out and get it.