Xysma

Picture of Xysma

Lotto

Xysma - Lotto ©1996 Relapse
1. Shortest Route
2. We Just Came Inside
3. Do'n'do
4. New Gel In Town
5. Aquanaut
6. Shoes
7. One Hell Of A Man
8. The Tram
9. Millionaire
10. Bravado

Apparently one of those morphing bands who change their entire musical style with every album, Xysma's venture into swagger rock'n'metal is one of those affairs that invariably leave the listener scratching his/her scalp and wondering, "What is their point?" Throughout the album, the band attempts a form of groove busting, butt shaking rock with a heavy dose of Danzig doing deathy rock vocals but never quite pull it off. A couple songs, "New Gel in Town" and "One Hell of a Man", actually get some place in their quest but much of the songwriting is just clumsy enough to rid all semblance of groove. Lotto isn't terrible by any means but it isn't quite accomplished enough to fully grip the listener. Ever stranger is the album closer "Bravado" which becomes ambient atmospheric keyboards with occasional heavy guitar. Eventually the song dissolves down into complete ambient activity. Strangely, this song is also the most interesting on the album. Xysma is obviously full of ambition and even a healthy amount of talent. Unfortunately, the winning number wasn't picked on Lotto.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/1999

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Singles

Xysma - Singles ©1997 Spinefarm
1. Honest Love
2. King
3. Sure About You
4. Can't Take My Eyes Off You
5. I Can't Stand It
6. Drive My Car
7. Sure About You (Original)

Xysma was (is?) a Finnish band that originally started out as a truly primeval gurglecore band that managed to evolve in short order to an alternative rock band. This particular collection of songs, called Singles, is so far removed from their early guttural belechings that one would almost assume the Xysma that made Swarming of the Maggots came from entirely different planet. I imagine had Xysma been better known in the 90s, there would have been more of an outcry over their stylistic change, but utter obscurity has its rewards and freedom.

Singles features four original tracks and three covers. Of the covers, their versions of Lou Reed's "I Can't Stand It" and Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" are both very well done. The latter retains the swinging feel, including the horn section. They also cover "Drive My Car" but it often feels upside down and lacks the vocal harmonies of the original, which undermines this effort a bit. The original songs on this album show off the band's evolution into what roughly could be called alternative rock, which is not too far removed from Lotto. The interesting thing about the style played here is that it really didn't sound like the mainstream alt-rock of the 90s, avoiding the radio friendly sounds of what passed for alternative rock as well as not descending into generic pop punk. The band had a slight bit of psychedlic rock, but perhaps that's because they weren't afraid to use a wah pedal. The album ends on a 33 minute ambient/experimental song, which occasionally sounds a bit like what happens at night when Hawkwind forgets to turn off one of their synthesizers.

While Singles falls short of being great, it's still a truly overlooked fun release that is worth a listen or two. And for anyone who remembers their early belches of music, it's rather amazing they progressed to this point.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/2013

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