|MH-260 Her Space Holiday - XOXO, Panda And The New Kid Revival
Putting some space between himself and the computer that has provided the basis for so much of his recent work, Marc Bianchi has taken the last two years to focus on what got him into music in the first place, writing connective songs and working out the layers of sound he hears in his head. The results are a new persona, XOXO, Panda, and the reinforcement of the feelings of personal and artistic freedom that drive his music. Loose and carefree arrangements of guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, shakers, glockenspiel, and drums lay the foundation for vocal storytelling sing-a-longs. XOXO, Panda And The New Kid Revival is a brilliant calling card for Her Space Holiday’s newly awakened alter-ego, and a watershed moment in his growth as a songwriter and performer.
|Guitar pop songs that are as charming as they are simple - Rolling Stone / That he can switch up styles so frequently and make solid records says something special about Bianchi - Pop Matters / Melodies have that wonderful undefinable quality that makes you want to hear them over and over... Killer indie pop cuts - Babysue|
|I have previously posted praise for the post-break-up project (only if it’s good.) For my next act, I will simultaneously write about a side-project and the wonder of covers. I know, you’re impressed.|
Provoking this outburst is my current obsession with Marc Bianchi’s XOXO, Panda. You are probably more acquainted with Bianchi’s effortless spoken-style vocals in Her Space Holiday. Dropping the electronics and picking up every instrument he could find, he compiled a departure album titled The New Kid Revival. Less a bunch of songs, more a collection of stories. The optimism contained in this album would be annoying if it wasn’t so fantastically simple. The words and messages, miles from didactic, are entirely unassuming. I love when an album is an album, and this definitely qualifies. There are rounds and repetition in the lyrics which I appreciate as vocal instrumentation. Even more brilliantly, is that the song titles echo one another.
Tracks of mention are as follows: all of them.
“The New Kid Revival,” opens a little voxtrot-esque, and melodies along with clapping filled out with strings and lyrically making no excuses for what the rest of the album will sound like.
A title that makes my ironic little heart laugh almost every time I read it, “The Truth Hurts, So This Should Be Painless,” begins with the melody of a music-box. It fades into a plodding bassline accompanied by some harmonic banjo on the chorus. Who doesn’t like banjo… P.S. I think Bianchi may have an obsession with shallow graves, as he makes one mention of two that I have noticed on this album.
According to iTunes, I’ve listened to “Sleepy Tigers,” the most. Which is understandable since the song proves tambourines are back (with a lively vengeance). I’m also a fan of the the side of xylo. The lyrics are cute, in a non-vom sort of way: “Oh I like you so very much, so much in fact I’m going to switch it up.”
My favourite song: “My Crooked Crown” is an acoustic track with a bit of xylophone. The lyrics are in the form of a letter, written to me. At least I feel it was written for me, it’s one of those songs my soul fell for long before I heard it. It’s pretty, it tells my life story, and its signed XOXO.
“The Day In Review,” has the most hidden gems word-wise. “even the best ideas fade,” and “our books are filled with failed plots and not the endings that we want. So write out, write out your words.” I rest my case. Oh, plus there’s whistling and a harmonica, what more could you ask for…
“The Year In Review,” echoes “The Day In Review,” or vice versa. I don’t think it really matters. Strings fill it up, and “if time is measured in memories don’t set your clock to misery.” words to live by.
The jury’s out on whether this is an actual side project, since Her Space Holiday have announced their upcoming fall release XOXO, Panda And The New Kid Revival with the tracklisting identical to XOXO, Panda’s The New Kid Revival. Their Myspace blog explanation does little for clarification. If you figure it out, let me know. Until then, I’ll be listening to the album in ignorance of the technicalities of the artist’s chosen title.
Signed, XOXO Panda. - We Are Not Sharing