Traces of this evolution are apparent on Xlover’s debut album “Pleasure & Romance”, recorded over a couple of years time with shifting personnel. With one foot in electroclash and the other trying new ground in all kinds of directions, Xlover create a refreshingly adventurous form of electronic pop. The way the music shifts from New Order-like melancholy to grinding guitars to stuttering electronics to the dreamy strings of “So Blue” makes Xlover sound like they’re about to explode trying to fulfill all possibilities.
People familiar with Haloblack’s dark industrial funk will recognise the desire to experiment, but the Xlover sound is made from a much tighter mold, only rarely straying from conventional song structures. Singer Nina Rai’s husky voice also changes the tone, cooly reciting pornographic poetry over the controlled chaos. Because while the songs often ooze slick pop perfection on the surface, there are always a myriad of details and noises disturbing the order in a very liberating fashion.
“Pleasure & Romance” is a bit too varied to work as a coherent album, but there are enough decadent pop moments as well as boundary pushing experimentation going on here to make it a must for anyone with an interest in sleazy electronic music.