I was lucky enough to get the first review of my album from German blog ‘Tante Pop’! (Which means ‘Aunt Pop’)
Here’s the translation, thanks to Derombe. (read the original review here)
Xania – Xania, album review
Xania used to be omnipresent in Berlin as one half of the truly entertaining duo Trike, which unfortunately split up in the summer of 2012. Taylor, stayed in Berlin, Xania moved back to Canada, her home country where she has been busy recording her first solo album over the short space of 6 months. During which time Trike’s 4th album Slapped was released on which the two had been working for one year. It is unlikely to achieve much success, not because it was bad, but because Trike were the epitome of what is means to be a ‘live’ band. The album is nice to listen to and has many good ideas and may be occasionally played at parties, but Trike were loved for their spectacular live shows.
Having said that, it is very exciting to watch the two musicians grow into solo artists – though the word ‘solo’ doesn’t really fit Xania’s self titled debut album, since she collaborated with several musicians, among them Robin Sukroso. She documented the working process in detail on her blog, including very intimate insights and thoughts on the realities of recording an album, and giving thanks to friends who assisted her.
The self-titled album contains 11 tracks. Xania raps, tap-dances and sings about events and experiences that have been part of her life over the past five years. The single ‘Hip Op’ deals with her leaving Berlin (as does, albeit in a more general way, the opening track ‘Gypsy’). In ‘2 Jealous Boys’ she addresses the luxury problem of having “too much choice” – confidently taking on the bragging that is so stereotypical of rap. It is an essential question after all – beautiful eyes vs. sexy lips, but why don’t you take both, Xania? What the H?
All of the songs appear sincere. In ‘Busking’ she reflects on the very topic, giving astonishing depth to the song’s protagonist in just under two minutes. The combination of rap and acoustic guitar is rarely found, but it’s this mix that distinguishes the song from the rest of the album, it certainly has charms. In particular I liked ‘My heart is on the floor’, not only because it so strikingly reminds me of the Violent Femmes’ ‘Country Death Song’, with it’s combination of bass, banjo, tap dance (!) but it’s the highly likeable voice that turns the song into a great one. It sits in the middle of the album is where you find the real gem ‘I want to be a Doll’, with it’s gorgeous tale of escapism.
‘Concrete Suit’ and ‘Way too crazy’ allow deep insight into Xania’s emotional life – she emotionally strips herself naked. Her make-or-break approach to dealing with one’s own experiences is admirably consistent.
In 30 minutes the album offers a varied trip through Xania’s experiences as a street musician in Canada, Berlin and throughout Europe. You get the feeling of participating in her travels, and her most intimate thoughts. That said we should be careful not to confuse the author and the narrator, the use of artistic expression can always transport us into the unknown. I recommend this album, it’s a successful debut, and I look forward to a European tour with perhaps the support of a full band.
For those of you who understandably have a thirst to hear <Xania>, well unfortunately you have to wait until the official release of May 25th when it can be purchased on CD or digital download at http://xania.bandcamp.com