Resonating within the vibrations of gritty punk echoed from the ‘70s, XUP’s latest album displays a level of attitude that has been forgotten through the ages.
XUP (pronounced Zoop) released their 5th full length album this month, ‘Feed The Wolf Inside’ under Cherry Vitriol Records. Combining fuzzy, distorted bass tones and retro-sounding drum machines, the post-punk rocker isn’t subtle about their notorious ‘70s and ‘80s influences. Likening themselves to Siouxsie Soux and PJ Harvey, the less melodious, more spoken narrative of the vocals ignite a nostalgic air of rebellion.
XUP’s fierce attitude narrates the music and dictates the direction of the album’s atmosphere. Explaining the album’s content, XUP states, “Feed The Wolf Inside is a primal creature that shape-shifts between predator and prey and dances between the chase and the kill. It creeps into birth, life, death and all the sick and twisted love songs that fill the deep, dark spaces in between” (XUP). The emotive power is distinctive throughout the album, with each track displaying a driven energy of intense passion.
Opening up with ‘DISCONNECT’, electronic percussion and a heavy, static bassline pave the way for reverberated double-tracked vocals with an intense presence. With a repeated riff played throughout, the vocals create their own rhythmic counter melody to the music, which in a peculiar, disjointed way, works within its punky genre.
The album as a whole however is a slow burner, with the first half of the album exploring very similar tones, rhythms and vocal melodies to the opening track. The excitement of the raw post-punk sound eventually fades out as the tracks feel slightly repetitive by not offering much differentiation between their musicality. With them all having the same basic instrumentation of a distorted bass and a drum machine, distinguishing one from the other proves to be slightly difficult.
‘CUT YOU OPEN’ feels like the turning point of the album, with added effects on the vocals and a more complexed drumbeat, the song sticks itself out slightly from the previous tracks explored throughout the track listing. Included in the turn of the second half is ‘BIG MAN’S SHOES’ which sees the use of a full kit replace the drum machine. Although still using the same heavy driven bass, it plays a more set rhythm this time and creates a strong bond between the rhythm section. The vocals display their typical, fiery passion in an atonal protest above the music, still making their hold over the music apparent.
Closing the Album, ‘LIPS ON MINE’ uses similar percussive sounds to the opening track with the vocals pushed slightly further back in the music. Though the song offers slightly different elements here and there, it doesn’t really leave a huge impression as the albums ultimate track.
The punky attitude radiated throughout the album certainly gives us something a little more exciting than that of modern-day punk, but it’s a shame that the buzz isn’t kept alight throughout the whole track listing. If the album explored a higher level of variety between its tracks, there’s no doubt that the punky novelty would have soared that little bit higher.