Portsmouth's Qhixldekx describes himself as an "electro-guitar" act and I'm happy to go along with that description. Following on from his 2001 cassette 'Death To The Drug Cartel', this is his first CD release.
A nice mellow guitar line starts the demo off, before the drum machine kicks in and searing guitars battle with some squelchy background electronics. Emerging from all this is a top tune that you can't stop humming all day! The follow-up, 'Everytime I Touch My Teeth My Gums Bleed Profusely' (and surely that has to be one of the song titles of the year) has a mellower dancey vibe to it, with a lovely bendy bassline. Guitars are ditched altogether here in favour of Qhixldekx' purer electro-based leanings.
My personal favourite though is 'Burn, Witch, Burn', a fantastic, quirky, pop song with more than a hint of the 80s about it. Beginning with a deep synth line and samples, waves of guitar ebb and flow in the undercurrent of an edgy drum track. A delicious keyboard riff hits you where it hurts and worms its way into your brain - in my opinion it really is the catchiest line I've heard all year.
Comparisons are hard - perhaps a hint of early Cabaret Voltaire can be heard in the programming, a touch of Bis in the pop/tune department and a healthy dose of the Cardiacs' quirkiness. Lyrically it's rather reminiscent of a sly peek at somebody else's polaroids - snapshots of very personal times and emotions that are nevertheless there for all to see.
Imaginative, tuneful stuff then - expect greater things to come.
8Steve Gray's Score