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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Xinema - 2006 Basic Communication
Xinema - 2006 Basic Communication

ARTIST: Xinema
ALBUM: Basic Communication
LABEL: Unicorn Digital
YEAR: 2006


LINEUP: Michael Askemur - vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards * Sven Larsson - guitars, vocals * Jonas Thuren - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Colours * 02 Train To Nowhere * 03 Talk * 04 Speak To The World - Part I - Awakenings * 05 Speak To The World - Part II - Newtons Cradle * 06 Speak To The World - Part III - At The Hovel Of Eddies * 07 Speak To The World - Part IV - Basic Communication * 08 Life The Way I Knew It * 09 Ghost Of A Memory - Part I - Nothing To Fear * 10 Ghost Of A Memory - Part II - Grapes Of Wrath * 11 Ghost Of A Memory - Part III - The Passage * 12 Ghost Of A Memory - Part IV - Black Pigeon * 13 Ghost Of A Memory - Part V - Deus Ex Machina * 14 Dust In Your Eyes



Gosh, it's been four years since Xinema last graced our CD decks. Their debut 'Different Ways' hung around in the memory banks for months, and among some of the writing staff here, it became a 2002 favourite. From Sweden, this trio have a progressive rock/commercial thing going on that is highly unique and readily identifiable as Xinema. The band return with their latest 'Basic Communication', and this time, they delve even deeper into the progressive world from whence they came. The album is resplendent with luscious keyboard layers, wistful lyrics and of course some fiery lead guitar from ace six-stringer Sven Larsson (also with Street Talk). His guitar has more of a synthesized tone this time around,but does cut up rough on occasion. The band have an uncanny ability to blend a number of styles, in the same manner as Canadian legends Saga, and seem to have moved their songwriting alongside them as well, as you will read further on.. Though there are fourteen tracks on the album, technically there are only six songs - two of which have four and five parts to it. To my ears, those longer pieces have a Genesis vibe throughout, while the shorter pieces touch on a myriad of more commercial and rockier influences playing in a similar style to the likes of Saga and Rush.. as mentioned just before.

The Songs
'Colours' gets us underway, the song is an intriguing mixture of styles and you get to hear it all within the confines of five minutes playing time. 'Train To Nowhere' features a combination of organ, earthy bass playing that Geddy Lee could own, plus some shimmering guitar lines. Perhaps the most dramatic and intense piece here is 'Talk', after a subdued introduction things take off mid-section. There is a moody section halfway through, but the guitar extravaganza at the end completes things with a flurry. The first of the epic's 'Speak To The World' is next. 'Part II - Newtons Cradle' is where it all comes alive, magnificent Saga like in sound. The introspective 'Part IV - Basic Communication' is the counterfoil, gentile in nature and understated mostly. 'Life The Way I Knew It' is a mellow meandering track, which lifts with some searing guitar work toward the end. It could be 'The Last Flower' Part 2! The five part 'Ghost Of A Memory' had been described to me as a variation of Dream Theater's 'Metropolis - Scene From A Memory' though personally, I don't hear it. Perhaps in concept yes, because DT's album focused on events that resulted from regression therapy, so the subject matter could be construed as being similar. Musically, it's atmospheric prog with a few twists and turns - surprisingly despite the five parts it isn't an overly long musical piece. The album ends perfectly with the pomp like perfection of 'Dust In Your Eyes'. There are a few quiet passages interspersed throughout, but overall Askemur's keyboards control the soundscape mainly.

In Summary
The album has some great moments, but one thing stands out for me. In comparison to 'Different Ways', 'Basic Communication' is not as immediate when you first slap the CD into the deck. Catchy choruses and effective hooks have been overtaken by progressive tendencies. Sure, the trademark Xinema is still there, but this album will definitely favour the prog fans among you, more so than the AORsters. Take nothing away from this album though, if you are a committed fan of the band as I am you will see through the shortfall and appreciate the fact that you've got a new album from this great band.

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