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XIXAXIXA
Album: The Code
Label: Glitterhouse
Tracks: 4
Website: http://www.xixamusic.com

Pronounced shiska, this Gothic-Americana six-piece from Tucson meld the cumbia of their Latin roots with Calexico-like desert psychedelia and feature twangsome guitars and the dark purring growl of singer Gabriel Sullivan, the four tracks on the limited edition EP playing like an audition tape for some Tarantino-Rodriguez hallucinogenic Western team-up set in the Mexican badlands.

The five-minute title track blows into town on a sirocco-driven sand storm with its galloping rhythms and heady border stalking guitars as, in leathery tones, Sullivan growls "I hear him everyday/But I cannot speak his name", the chorus switching rhythms and whirling like some fiesta for demons.

Named for the Egyptian god of the dead and the afterlife, 'Osiris' is another potently atmospheric, number, opening with sonic distortions out of which a steady tribal beat emerges, over which echoey voices and guitars swirl like a peyote dream. Featuring breathily mumbled indecipherable lyrics 'Kvmbia Okvlt' is primarily a choppily percussive instrumental steeped in their chichi influences, a Peruvian mutation of cumbia infused with surf rock, taking its name from a potent brew of fermented maize beer.

Given the EP's hypnotic purview, it fittingly ends with a rattlesnake-like rhythmical swaying groove titled 'Mantra' with mariachi horns from an imaged Dimitri Tiomkin movie and which the blurb evocatively describes as having Sullivan "singing like Leonard Cohen re-imagined as a desert outlaw" on lines such as "what turns of fate brought us here, what sacrifice do young gods require?" Grab a bottle of Mescal, a lime and decipher in delerium.

Mike Davies