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Sweet, hold the sour.
Celina Murphy, 28 Oct 2011
“Where is the summer/Where the fuck is summer?/Why hasn’t it come?”
It’s a line that any one of the six million people on this rock could have written, but only one lucky band can lay claim to it.
For the uninitiated, Little Xs For Eyes are a hermaphrodite pop group (in that the group is half-male and half-female, not that any of the members have irregular sexual organs… that we know of) who’ve been enjoying a moderately buzzworthy couple of years on the live circuit thanks to their cascading female harmonies and quirky collection of instruments (not even PJ Harvey has gotten around to playing the psaltery yet!)
Little Xs For Eyes is hardly a name you’ll have overheard in the supermarket, but the sugary six-piece are not without their following. In fact, the band owe debut album S.A.D to the 93 fans who helped pay for its mixing, mastering and pressing through crowd funding website fundit.ie.
For an Irish band to theme their record, however loosely, around seasonal affective disorder was a stroke of genius. Not only does the affliction affect one in five people on the island, but the weather has been so consistently dreadful in 2011 that not even the happiest bastard in town can resist having a grumble about it.
The tried-and-tested formula of perky sound, dejected sentiment works really well for this band. Their candied melodies and shoop-filled arrangements push the boundaries of twee, and the lyrics don’t mess around either (at one point frontwoman Bennie Reilly threatens to beat up her lover’s ex).
In essence, Little Xs For Eyes are a folk band with a retro doo wop shuffle, but like so many of the ‘60s girl groups they emulate, their appeal is based on more than the sunny sound of their tunes. Like The Supremes, The Shirelles and The Shangri-Las before them, they write lyrics that strike right to the heart of the insecure and lovelorn, without overcomplicating the meaning of the song.
Take for example current single ‘In The Light’, a tune about the morning after the night before, which can be simply and divinely summed up with the line, “Does your heart quicken pace before my bare morning face/Or do you think, ‘Oh God, I’ve made a mistake’?”