Xu Xu Fang - The Mourning Son EP
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Xu Xu Fang
The Mourning Son EP
(Self Released)

Not to be confused with Xiu Xiu, Xu Xu Fang is a California-based group who play sonically dense rock songs that drip with a dollop of psychedelia. Featuring Bobby Tamkin (who was in both The Warlocks and Hovercraft), the group hasn't exactly been prolific, releasing only a single full-length back in 2001 (Los Angeles During The Winter of '99) before re-introducing themselves to the world with a !12" late last year and now finally this new EP.

Sounding something like a shoegaze band playing 70s-inspired Southern California rock on a beach, the group has a sort of hazy midtempo quality that's lush and lovely over the course of this short release. Both "These Days" and the EP-titled "The Mourning Son" blend together everything from layers of guitar and lap steel and horns while coating everything in a soft wash of reverb. Mixing up things with male and female vocals, they turn up the volume and tempo just slightly with "Good Times Have Gone Away," channeling the Jesus And Mary Chain with the edges buffed off and sent into a softer focus.

And really, the three songs are about it on the short release, unless you count the several twenty second or less interstitial field-recordings or the long droning closer of "Terra Scura," which again blends a field recording (this time of a thunderstorm and cicadas) with deep tonal drones. The remaining twelve minutes or so certainly have their moments, but it's nothing that really knocks you upside the head. I'll reserve further judgement until the group releases more into the wild.

rating: 610
Aaron Coleman 2008-09-04 21:08:18