Blue Plate Special: Clan of Xymox
During the summer of 1987, I came across a 4AD compilation (Lonely Is An Eyesore) that included songs by some of my favorite artists at time, including Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, and Boston/Rhode Island-based Throwing Muses. Also on the album was a song that became one of my favorites – Muscoviet Mosquito – which introduced me to the Dutch band Clan of Xymox, one of the most prolific bands most westerners have never heard of, with 17 studio albums (so far) and an active tour schedule (they’ll be here in Salt Lake City in June 2023).
Sometimes classified as darkwave, the band very much aligned themselves with the goth and shoegazing crowd, had a brief flirtation with success in the late 80s when they took more of a dance-synth approach to songwriting, before heading back underground with dance, trance, and dark wave sounds once again. All great stuff, and I thought I’d share a few of my favorites in a quick list:
Muscoviet Mosquito – from a promo single, later added to their eponymous Clan of Xymox reissue (1986)
This is where it all started for me. Love it.
A Day – from their album Clan of Xymox (1985)
Moving from the post-punk goth sound to something with more synths, this is where they really defined their signature sound.
Obsession – from the album Twist of Shadows (1989)
My favorite song from their highly-successful 3rd album, and the 1st of four studio albums under the Xymox name, before returning to the original name (and darkwave sound) in the late 1990s.
Out of the Rain – from the album Hidden Faces (1997)
Returning to their roots with an outstanding album, this is the first cut on the album and it sets the standard.
Blind Hearts – from the album Twist of Shadows (1989)
Almost forgot about this song — another favorite from their 3rd album, which was a huge influence for me. In fact, I still have the tour shirt for this album…somewhere. The CD was in heavy rotation in my car at the time, which is the summer I got engaged.
She – from the album Spider on the Wall (2020)
Great song to modernize their sound, more dance/trance than darkwave, but clearly still a Clan of Xymox sound.
Imagination – from the album Twist of Shadows (1989)
And here is their biggest single, with Anka Wolbert taking lead vocal, that received heavy rotation on MTV and radio.