XANTHAN – Succubus Swing

Xanthan 2022

Succubus Swing

From Texas with aural riddles: young avant-garde trinity arrive to exorcise one’s demons.

There’s a few ways to get into what makes this trio tick – like trying to decipher their name that may refer to either a thickening agent or a certain fantasy world’s denizen but seems to reflect the two meanings when given a sound. And the sound in question is quite alluring – combining two other aspects of the little ensemble’s schtick, as it’s simultaneously noisy and bluesy, with no intricate concept attached to their moderately sophisticated first EP. Recorded live in bassist Corin Gatwood’s living room, where brothers Miller, guitarist Max and drummer Boz, feel at home, the record’s six tracks span a few years of the band’s existence yet the music’s development doesn’t smell of domestic sort of experimentalism and hints instead at a bigger picture.

So while the early instrumental “1934” demonstrates more or less traditional, if stumblingly tasty, heavy funk that would lean towards fusion once riffs clear the piece’s sonic space, the latter-day “Ms. Haan” with its amorphous, abstract skronk is a condensed germ of the group’s contemporary method, but the mini-album’s unchronological flow should level out this temporal difference in favor of stylistic flair and fine humor hidden in the cuts’ subtitles. The half-growled vocals are similarly buried in the mix, rendering lyrics insignificant, which can’t be said of the six-string assault on both bottom-end and surface of opener “HYBYC” whose dynamic starts and stops, and sturm–und-drang before the calm, will keep the listener on their toes, or the Sabbathian sway of “Colliskeions: 23” whose alternating frenetic runs and slow passages produce an exciting effect.

However, there’s an exquisite elegance to “Bump Of Excellence” that has a flamenco-esque melody and groove at the fore, adding progressive touches to the song’s rippling texture, and spaghetti-western belligerence to the ever-shifting, pulsing panorama of “In Killeen” that reveals some of the words to create a sense of adventure. This is the seductive succubus swing in full and, taken into a full-length platter, it can cause a stir in the nearest future.


July 14, 2022

Category(s): Reviews
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