Album Reviews

XIsLoaded – Raw Nerve

( UK release date: 12 July 2004

Hailing from the Roman ruins of Bath, XisLoaded are a talented bunch who, for the most part, slip indie perceptions into the heavy melodies of �90s rock, although you will be able to catch some punkish aggression lurking in there too.

However, with this mostly hit and miss album, their noticeable skills have unfortunately failed to reach the innovative heights set by their live performances. Some of the songs are annoyingly bland, such as the title track, yet tracks like Bleeding The Shapes show the band in remarkable form.

Overall, the songwriting is hardly inspiring stuff. Although there was no lyric sheet with my copy, I managed to catch silly ramblings on One More Razor (“hold this razor in my eyes/do me a favour, come on now, come on now”) and Dean Park (“you don’t have a clue about what anybody means”). Frankly, the ludicrous lyrics resemble cheesy �80s heavy metal more than even the lamest indie-rock bands.

Regardless of the feeble lyrical content, some of melodies like the aforementioned track One More Razor and others like Racketeer are still gripping and exciting due to their frantic pace, Jake Roberts’s robust vocals and the tightly packed rhythm section that augments them. Fallout is one of those songs with a �fast then slow’ arrangement which you think you are going to hate – surprising then that it’s rather likable with its catchy tune, sharp strumming and strong bass line.

The fundamental source of an argument against XisLoaded is that they are yet another band that are blinded by the influence and styles that other bands have had on them. It seems that they are striving a little to hard to be like Feeder and InMe. Funnily enough, the producer of Raw Nerve, Chris Sheldon, has worked as a producer with the former band, while XisLoaded have supported the latter on tour and will do so again in coming weeks. Instead of regurgitating familiar ingredients, perhaps XisLoaded should stop listening to other bands’ music while they continue to develop their own style in order that we can hear an original and uncontaminated sound.

Despite such criticisms they have a very promising future ahead of them, especially with a lead singer who has so much enthusiasm and verve. There is no denying that they are a band with an abundance of talent and a sharp eye for commercial rock but they still manage to retain a degree of credibility and respect at the same time. Ultimately though, Raw Nerve falls below par because there isn’t much here that hasn’t been heard before.

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XIsLoaded – Raw Nerve