German dark rock/post punk outfit XTR HUMAN is back with their 2nd full-length album in almost 6 years after its debut ‘Atavism‘! Save the date on your calendar, that is May 29th, the day ‘Interior‘ will “be umnasked” (just-out post-pandemic jargon!) on the the always hospitable Blackjack Illumnist Records.
Cannot hide (& don’t wanna actually do!) our elation for tonight’s exclusive premiere on Last Day Deaf of the album’s opener ‘With A Smile‘, an enticing slow burner, with discrete kraut rock influence, a compelling, driving bassline in the vein of genre’s (God)fathers Joy Division, hooking guitar work and a colossal, black post punk heart…
Johannes Stabel, the main core of the project has shared with us the following statement about the track: “‘With A Smile’ is about the feeling of getting lost in the nostalgic consideration of your own life. It’s easy to distract yourself from your own demons. But things appear clear in the morning light. There is no alternative but to deal with your problems.”
Spending six years on the successor to a debut album can be a risky for a band these days. They might get lost in the turmoil of what is constantly happening and constantly available and being replaced by the umpteenth artist generated by an automated playlist. The artist’s song didn’t make the algorithm’s cut? Bad luck for them, but for the listener something else is already in line, they just have to click or swipe on. Yet, a six year wait – it may also set an example; a sign that it is only time when the time actually comes. Well, frankly, XTR HUMAN haven’t been idle after their debut LP, “Atavism”. They were on the road a lot and, in 2018, released their “Reflections” EP, a sparkling shoegaze / post-punk hybrid that already indicated what was going on in the mind of bandleader Johannes Stabel who is Berliner by choice.
So, in terms of content, “Interior” continues where “Reflections” started. Inner strife and alienation cast in tones, the fear of failure and eternal doubt create a melancholic atmosphere per se, and the listener embraces and lingers this alert dystopian beauty. Swipe no more! Anyone who has such good arguments as the jubilant chorus of “On A Greater Scale”, the interchanging of bright synths and reverberated dark guitars on “Masks Of Faith”, the red wine pop of “On Miracles” splashing up in fireworks, or “Hearst” which is reminiscent of Britrock’s noughties – one will not want to break free from this embrace. This is eighties post-punk building a bridge to the UK indie rock of the 21st century, it is as entertaining as it is focused on slick songwriting, with a crisp production by Lemmy Fischer from Jaguwar. Stabel is the sometimes desperate, sometimes conjuring and always driven romantic with earthy timbre on the vocal cords, while a dense web of guitars and synthesizers buzzes around him.
It sometimes takes six years to explore your personal limits and demons and put them in a social context. These six years have paid off for XTR HUMAN.