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Xothogua : You Wonít Reach Shore

Experiments by their nature are hit and miss; Xothogua's latest recording sadly belongs to the latter category.

Experiments by their nature are hit and miss. For every Edison, Eyehategod or Isis, there is a Xothogua, a Canadian sludge band who claim to ďexperiment with everythingĒ but whose disordered approach has created a wilfully impenetrable slab of disaster. While most bands jam in order to form ideas that can then be moulded into songs, it seems that Xothogua, in a spirit of creative liberty, decided that simply recording their jamming session was sufficient effort, turned off the lights and went home.

Such a liberal attitude to writing music could, on any given day, result in the next 'Born Too Late' or 'Nightfall' but sadly not on this day. The dense dual guitars may resemble early Cathedral but there is little else to make the listening experience anything other than futile. On occasion, the drums sound like a baby giraffe falling into a pile of cardboard boxes, while the unholy marriage of vocal styles bites irritatingly at your ears. It is a multiple-voice assault, featuring loud, distorted screams and ghostly, monkish murmuring, similar to the bandís slightly more accessible 2011 Brain Cave recording.

Two years on, the songs have become longer and more disjointed. The opening track, 'Washer At The Ford' (NOT a song about valet servicing, despite early concerns) starts quietly, hypnotically, promisingly. It wades knee-deep through a swamp of woe, goes wild for a few minutes of mayhem, then returns to turgidity. There are moments of beauty in the vocal sparring, but they are outweighed by ugliness, and ultimately this 15-minute monster swallows itself and passes unmourned.

The second (and final) song is tedious and convoluted, relying on repetition and vocal gimmickry over artistry. 'Trincomali/Oceanic Whitetip Jam' contains a handful of moments when the clash between vocal styles creates a majestically odd synergy, but they are soon over and, abruptly, another song (or possibly two or three other songs, itís difficult to be sure) interrupts proceedings and the listener is abandoned once more.

There is clearly no lack of passion from this Montreal outfit; in fact, itís enough to make you wonder what might happen if they experimented with fashioning some of their concepts into conventional song structures. Now that would be a real light bulb moment.

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Reviewer's rating: 4/10


Tracklist :
1. Washer At The Ford
2. Trincomali/Oceanic Whitetip Jam

Duration : Approx 30 minutes

Visit the Xothogua bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-09-18 by Steve Bidmead
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