Pump up the balloons. ‘Transformation’ is the 10th album by German EBM pioneers X Marks The Pedwalk and it’s their most sophisticated release yet. Their most controlled too, at least on the surface. Only a couple of tracks come anywhere close to the frantic pace of their early 90s belter ‘Abattoir’. That’s a good thing, though. Older and wiser and all that.
Not that XMTP have lost any of their sense of drama. There are tensions in the lyrics – love is bitter, shadows are friends – and the peaks and troughs of the music are huge. ‘Walk Away’ and ‘Sunrise’ are symphonic synthpop songs, the former dark and velvety, the latter brighter and silkier, while ‘If I Stay’ and ‘Waiting’ are both stripped down to the barest of elements. All four of these tracks are gems, by the way.
XMTP have been a duo for the last decade, with founder member André Schmechta leading the way and vocalist Estefania lending valuable support, and they’ve produced some of their most interesting work during that time. ‘Transformation’ represents another step forward. A sizeable one at that. Older and wiser indeed.