Hear The Track HereWell here's a pleasant surprise because it's been a while indeed since I have been able to luxuriate in a new Xanthe track. I have known this vocalist for a great many years now and although I haven't raved about everything she has done, she's certainly exceeded my expectations more times than most artists. I am not alone in this thinking because whichever site you are on, you will find Xanthe fans in quantity. So what is it about this enigmatic (believe me, listen to some of her tunes) artist that attracts so much praise? Well I can only tell you what I like about her and the first thing has to be her voice; a tender, evocative instrument that has been known to bring tears to these extremely jaded eyes. It helps that she is a demon songwriter who knows exactly how to craft something of beauty - whatever the lyrical content.
Social Awkwardness is Xanthe's first new track in over a year so - as you can imagine - it was highly anticipated. Being the electro pop character she is, that track doesn't disappoint - at least not on the songwriting/arranging score. Moreover, the mix is as clear as a bell (as you would expect from this quarter) although I felt the vocals were a bit thin sounding but I'll probably be the only one thinking that. So what we finally end up with is a slice of exactly what makes Xanthe stand out from the crowd. If this were a perfect world Xanthe would have had hit after hit and Social Awkwardness would fit that bill precisely. It might be a year between this track and the mighty If but the golden touch is still there. If you have never heard If (ed: eh?) it was part of the collaborative effort of MP3 Unsigned members to voice their feelings about the London tube bombings (7/7/2005) - it's a powerful, heartrending track that has become one of my all time favourites. There again, Xanthe has LOADS of those.
There is a splendid pop sensibility that informs and enhances all Xanthe tracks, and despite the lag between tracks, it's in evidence in this track as if no time had passed. More to the point, the lady sounds delightful in main vocals and backing vocals and it's a real treat to hear her so obviously happy to be singing and recording again. I think it's that quality that really endears this track to me, but I doubt whether most people have the history Xanthe and I have, so what they will hear is an confident, assured artist that writes blinding tracks such as this one; with a very marked nod of respect and admiration to Soft Cell on the way. Whichever way you slice and dice it, there just ain't nobody around that does it in such a fine, relaxing way while making you think about what the artist may be feeling - and THAT is a very cool trick.
MUST HAVE (for fans and new listeners - this is special enough to appeal to everyone)