The XYZ Affair - Trials EP
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: July 1, 2008
The XYZ Affair are four literate Brooklynites who serve up an aurally engaging plate of blissful, jangle pop. The band has one LP to their credit, 2007's critically acclaimed A Few More Published Studies.
How Is it?
Opener "Sarah" carves its way with Death Cab-ish verses and veers towards baroque pop and chamber in a way that's neither cliche, unadulterated or overdone. It's a solid power-pop song and an incredible step forward for a band that hit a home-run on its debut. "Evening Life" moves along in a rhythmic and bouncy way that seems to borrow a heavy influence from ELO and The Spinto Band. The song screams summer, which works perfectly with the vernal lyrical theme. Coincidence? Probably not. The EP wraps up with the title track, a catchy nugget, which begins with a seering riff that serves as a false introduction as the song hovers in mid-tempo territory and features hints of a falsetto from vocalist Alex Feder. Of all the songs on the disc, "Trials" most assuredly towers over the others.
It's hard to find fault with these three songs and they serve their part as a great holdover until the next full-length. The lyrics are witty, if not borderline silly ("Sarah was an enterprising whore", "I must admit I was a bit unsure, it's hard to find love in your bedroom door, those lonely office girls don't help," "I'm a person just like you, I got better things to do"), and yet somehow their content isn't a detriment or a detraction. There are few bands that can get away with such a feat, but with this band, it's very much deserved. There are plenty of bands recreating the Beach Boys summer vibe, but of all of them, these Brooklyn boys might be the best. There's a reason most of New York City's publications label them the best unsigned power-pop band in Manhattan.