|The brainchild of laptop beats and bedroom knob twiddler Marc Bianchi, previous Her Space Holiday have been primarily electronica-based efforts.|
However, on this new album Bianchi has unleashed his musical alter-ego and has produced an album built around live instrumentation and, given the joyous nature of XOXO, Panda And The New Kid Revival, it seems to have been a liberating transformation.
XOXO... is full of woozy, loose, low key and carefree songs featuring a wide of array of (de-tuned) instruments including shakily played banjo, mandolin and glockenspiel. In fact it is the amateurish nature of the playing, amply assisted by the liberal use of handclaps and slightly wobbly vocal harmonizing, that infuses the record with an infectious, child-like wonder.
"My Crooked Crown" is typical. Essentially a lullaby, it finds Bianchi performing an endearingly shaky vocal full of nursery rhyme imagery over a low-fi arpeggiated acoustic guitar figure. "The Day In Review" features a detuned electric guitar figure, a harmonica line and clicking and ends up sounding like a less lysergic Devendra Banhart. However, perhaps the best thing here is "Sleepy Tigers" - an ecstatic, unabashed love song that sounds like a ramshackle Polyphonic Spree fronted by Stephen Malkmus.
There are a few songs that feel a little too insubstantial or lacking in structure, but in the final analysis it is the charmingly homemade feel of the album that is its greatest asset. Let’s hope Bianchi continues to pursue this fruitful career detour. - Last Broadcast