Promising debut from electronic Brooklynites.
Brooklyn quintet Xylos aren't out to slavishly recreate early '80s UK synth-pop on their self-titled debut, but echoes of acts like Orchestral Manouvres in the Dark and Kate Bush are all over these largely electronic tunes. Xylos was produced by Britt Myers, knob-twiddler for Yeasayer and Chairlift, and has a similarly bright, spacious sound that plays well off the diffident, hipsterish cool of the songs. Primary lead singer Monica Heidemann has an appealing pure-pop voice, but she and fellow songwriters Eric Zeiler and Nikki Laney seem more interested in creating interesting sonic textures than memorable hooks: aside from the catchy first single "Darling Dearest" and the rainy-day melancholy of "Second Order," most of the tunes take a few listens to really sink in, although the album is unfailingly pleasant from first note to last. A little more personality and some sharper songwriting next time could create something even better.