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Xinema - Different Ways

Xinema - Different WaysXinema hails from Sweden and consists of Mikael Askemur (lead vocal, bass, keyboards, guitars), Sven Larsson (lead guitar and backing vocal) and Jonas Thurén (drums, lead and backing vocal).  Though Xinema has only been in existence for three years, Mikael, Sven and Jonas were together in a band called Madrigal in the latter half of the 80’s.

Different Ways is Xinema’s debut album.  Naturally, whenever a band is made up of three individuals the immediate thought is ‘another ELP’.  Lose that thought because apart from being a band of three there is no other similarity.  With one foot in the prog camp and the other in the melodic rock/AOR tent they could be considered to have more in common with Asia perhaps.

Whilst some tracks have that ‘stadium’ feel about them for example In The Scent Of The Night, others (including Timing and Maybe Time) delve into prog’s velvet bag using complex playing rather than strange time signatures to convey the prog feel.  There is an occasional mid-period to early 80’s Genesis feel to some of the music but this actually sounds rather good believe it or not.  Equally, some of the guitar breaks could be likened to the Flower Kings’ Roine Stolt.  Vocals are in English so good it is easy to forget that these guys are Swedish.  Such is the fullness of the sound that it is also easy to forget there are only three band members.

Of the twelve tracks on this album all are very listenable although after only three listens I already have some favourites one of which is the 7 minute Blind Is The Light which coincidentally just touches on the Hairless Heart theme (Lamb Lies Down On Broadway) in a couple of places.  Other highlights are the emotional The Secret, Maybe Time (great intro) and Timing.

Different Ways lives up to its name and is a commendable debut album.  Xinema clearly have a lot to offer and are currently recording their second album.

Jem Jedrzejewski


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