Pioneering Dutch postpunks Clan of Xymox bring their haunting sounds stateside | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Pioneering Dutch postpunks Clan of Xymox bring their haunting sounds stateside 

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click to enlarge Clan of Xymox

Clan of Xymox

Courtesy the Artist

Dutch outfit Clan of Xymox swirled and swept their dramatic, electronics-saturated way onto the international stage in the early 80s as part of the stable of artists on 4AD—the label that helped set the era’s standard for quality postpunk. Originally a four-piece led by a trio of songwriters—Ronny Moorings, Anka Wolbert, and Pieter Nooten—the band rapidly became a bit of a soap opera, with various parties wrestling for control. By the early 90s, Moorings was the last original member standing, and he’s been steering the ship ever since, touring as Xymox for a few years before reverting to the full name in 1997. Clan of Xymox’s latest studio album, 2017’s Days of Black, carries on with the dispirited, romantic, dancing-alone-in-a-crowded-club vibe that the band helped pioneer, its songs weaving together vocal and instrumental styles from synth pop, UK acid house, light industrial, and post-Joy Division gothic rock. There’s always an audience for bands that ritualize and dignify cathartic sadness, and Clan of Xymox know how to serve it up—one of several reasons they remain a staple of European music festivals to this day. For their current tour (their second U.S. jaunt of the year but the first to hit Chicago), they’re promoting a deluxe vinyl reissue of their 1989 commercial breakthrough, Twist of Shadows (Pylon). In my opinion, the best place to start exploring their catalog is the 1985 self-titled album and its 1986 follow-up, Medusa, but Twist of Shadows is nonetheless a haunting, ghostly snapshot of a place and time, and deserving of a new audience.   v

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