Track Premiere: XOR – ‘Book of Love’

When the end of the world comes, Matthew, a.k.a. XOR, will be hunkered down in his basement studio, fiddling with a Roland JX-3P vintage synthesizer, and writing songs for the end times. That’s more or less the recipe for XOR’s self-titled debut album, due out this summer—a brooding, hypnotically catchy set of darkwave gems that would feel equally at home in a goth club or a sci-fi film set in some future dystopia.

New Noise are proud to premiere XOR’s latest single, a reimagined cover of the Magnetic Fields’ track, “Book of Love,” below:

The new album from his solo project, XOR, doesn’t skimp on the darker elements. The songwriter describes the record’s central themes like mental health, the loss of loved ones, and the general ennui and anxiety of living in a collapsing empire. “I wasn’t like, I’m gonna write a dark album,” Matthew says. “That’s just what came out.”

For years, Matthew has felt caught in an in-between space: entrenched in punk and hardcore subcultures, but personally more into electronic music and synth-pop. This solo album—his first after self-releasing several EPs—provides an outlet for the influences and sounds long-simmering inside.

These 10 nocturnal slow-burners draw on influences as wide-ranging as The Cure, Björk, Aphex Twin, and Clams Casino, topped off with an insistent drum machine pulse and glistening synth lines worthy of a John Hughes montage.

Matthew plans to perform the XOR material live later this year, or whenever live music safely returns. In the meantime, he’s set a goal to record and release one cover song each month: In January, he put out a darkwave rendition of AFI’s “God Called in Sick Today,” and in February, he made New Order’s “Temptation” his own.

On the release of “Book of Love,” Matthew states:

“I think what makes this a great love song is that it sits somewhere between sincerity and irony. For a love song to really resonate, it has to be personal and heartfelt, but also universal enough for others to identify with—which can often tend towards banal cheesiness or mundanity.

The lyrics of ‘Book of Love’ explore that uncomfortable in-between space with a humble earnestness I really appreciate.”

Stream XOR here and here.

Follow XOR on Instagram.

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