"This may really be the record we have been waiting for for a long time! I'm serious. [...] Holy moly! In forty minutes - and I'm really not understating - the nicest sides and most wonderful strengths of The Smiths, the Editors and something Depeche Mode-like are celebrated. [...] Incredibly concise. Insistently. Lasting. Convincing. On all ten songs. That is a fact. [...] catchy in the very best sense!" - Luserlounge (GER)
"A whole new freshness [...] So much quality in the ten songs of this compact, solid, pleasant and versatile work that never loses its thread, affirming the renewed maturity of a band with evident practical and compositional skills that has definitely taken the right path. Be warned." - Darkroom Magazine (ITA)
"The music is complex, harkening to the lush sonic wall of sound of Phil Spector’s work revived by post-punk shoegazers The Jesus and Mary Chain, and bolstered with soaring narrative structure, weeping guitars, and a dreamlike synth organ that yields to a breaking thundercloud." - Post-Punk.com
"Melancholic, dreamy, dark [...] One of my favorite releases of 2020 for sure." - Darko: The Postpunker (NI)
"A congenial summer wave alternative/shoegaze release - repeated listening is guaranteed. [...] If you prefer to dally with typical British britrock and britpop with the slightly darker side of 80s wave, you will definitely get your money's worth here. In addition to Whispering Sons, HOLYGRAM, Motorama and many more, in the last 5 years, XTR Human have become another piece of the mosaic between the poles of wave and post-punk with modern alternative pop." - BLACK Online Magazine (GER)
"Gloomy Joy Division references meet uptempo dominated by lean bass lines and indulgent guitar kicks which also reflect the tasteful britpop of the noughties. It goes without saying that the listener's grin is getting wider and wider. Even seven years of waiting were worth it" - Sonic Seducer (GER)
"Led by the charismatic Johannes Stabel, [XTR HUMAN] continue to evolve their somewhat dystopian, filtered sunlit soundA very enjoyable listen from start to finish." - Echoes and Dust (USA)
"Back to the eighties, but with style. [...] XTR HUMAN do not sound like a well-made homage, but like musicians who actually feel the sound. [...] Basically, the collision of gloom, cold and hopeful melodies works very well as a contrast. XTR HUMAN only interpret the catchiness of pop music, and do not compromise in terms of standards." - Krachfink (GER)
"Brilliant" - Popmonitor (GER)
"Reminiscent of legendary bands such as Jesus And The Mary Chain in its shoegazy moments, acts like Echo And The Bunnymen in its Britpop-like choruses, or contemporary acts like Holygram in its cool, chilling phases. With the second album, XTR Human have built their own building in which a different shade of dark music can be heard in every room - New Wave, Coldwave, Post-Punk, Indie-Pop, Shoegaze and Indierock join a successful residential community." - Tonspion (GER)
"One of the best albums of the year" - Projecto Alternativo (POR)
"Beauties abound on this. Slowly but surely, “Interior” sinks its claws and does not let go. There are numerous small and large song diamonds, charming pop moments, driven indie rock and comfortable gloom." - Beatblogger (GER)
"A 40-minute feast. XTR HUMAN sing the songs of the hour, adequate to the inner conflict and fear. - 8,25/10" - Streetclip (GER)
"Back with a rather dark and melody-loving album that honors the 80s but still sounds modern. “Interior” combines melancholic post-punk indie rock romance with gloomy lyrics and sometimes flattering melodies that might lead you to light a candle as an utter romantic and treat yourself to a glass of red wine." - Musikreviews.de
"It should just be played full blast with maximum energy. There are ways in which the songs sound the same without having them all follow that same pattern and so there is variety within the connection. [...] "The sounds of a storm end the fourth song and take us into all the bells and loud sounds of "On Miracles", which is just a Verve/David Bowie-like anthem. [...] "While "Giants" has more of the whispering vocals with the tones you can hear coming through in an almost fun way, "Darkest Side" comes through much heavier, faster paced and just with a certain amount of energy which should allow you to get up out of your seat and move." - Raised By Cassettes (USA)
"A real improvement. [INTERIOR] is condensed and consistent [and] gives a more complex aspect to their music without falling into imitation, which is highly appreciated." - Obsküre (FRA)
"Recommended album of the week. A wild blend of shoegaze, post-punk and coldwave" - Schwarzfunk, Radio Z (GER)
"A compelling, driving bassline in the vein of genre’s (God)fathers Joy Division, hooking guitar work and a colossal, black post punk heart" - Last Day Deaf (GRE)
"[B]eams people into comfortably slumbering daydreams when everyday life is a single fragmented chaos full of terrorist attacks and internet cats. Otherwise there is a lot of post punk and funky riffs that revive the 80s with bat and cobweb romance in retro acoustics." - Underdog Fanzine (GER)
"The upbeat beginning is reminiscent of earlier post-punk and its Joy Division aesthetics. But this song also faces the sun and doesn't sound dark or threatening." - Nicorola (AUT)
"Enjoy this fresh, hook-laden slice of indie pop perfection from XTR HUMAN. Giants grabs you from the start [...] I bet you’ll love this." - Super World Indie Tunes (IRE)
"80s post-punk bridges the gap to UK indie across Berlin" - VOLT Magazine (GER)
"XTR HUMAN do what bands like Editors no longer do: flirt with the dark." - Shoegaze Blog (ITA)
"The songs sound catchy and are often hits. Interior is dominated by songs which are nice, melodious, putting you in a good mood." - Wavepress (POL)
"Easy to listen to at any time or in any mood. An interesting duality between sonic darkness and melodic luminosity. A very digestible and catchy cadence." Sound & Vision (MEX)
"The band has a clear understanding and love of the darker side of 1980s alternative music, creating an album that is authentically rooted in the post-punk era while simultaneously providing a modern reinvigoration of this form of music." - Bliss Aquamarine (UK)
"XTR HUMAN manage to catch the best influences and musical heritage from previous decades." - Burning Flame (SER)
Spending six years on the successor to a debut album can be a risky for a band these days. They might get lost in the turmoil of what is constantly happening and constantly available and being replaced by the umpteenth artist generated by an automated playlist. The artist’s song didn’t make the algorithm’s cut? Bad luck for them, but for the listener something else is already in line, they just have to click or swipe on. Yet, a six year wait – it may also set an example; a sign that it is only time when the time actually comes. Well, frankly, XTR HUMAN haven't been idle after their debut LP, “Atavism”. They were on the road a lot and, in 2018, released their “Reflections” EP, a sparkling shoegaze / post-punk hybrid that already indicated what was going on in the mind of bandleader Johannes Stabel who is Berliner by choice.
So, in terms of content, “Interior” continues where “Reflections” started. Inner strife and alienation cast in tones, the fear of failure and eternal doubt create a melancholic atmosphere per se, and the listener embraces and lingers this alert dystopian beauty. Swipe no more! Anyone who has such good arguments as the jubilant chorus of "On A Greater Scale", the interchanging of bright synths and reverberated dark guitars on “Masks Of Faith”, the red wine pop of "On Miracles" splashing up in fireworks, or “Hearst” which is reminiscent of Britrock’s noughties - one will not want to break free from this embrace. This is eighties post-punk building a bridge to the UK indie rock of the 21st century, it is as entertaining as it is focused on slick songwriting, with a crisp production by Lemmy Fischer from Jaguwar. Stabel is the sometimes desperate, sometimes conjuring and always driven romantic with earthy timbre on the vocal cords, while a dense web of guitars and synthesizers buzzes around him.
It sometimes takes six years to explore your personal limits and demons and put them in a social context. These six years have paid off for XTR HUMAN.
Sich als Band sechs Jahre Zeit für den Nachfolger eines Debütalbums Zeit zu lassen, ist in heutigen Zeiten mutig. Groß ist die Gefahr, im Zirkus des stetig Geschehenden und ständig Verfügbaren verloren zu gehen und ersetzt zu werden durch den x-ten Künstler, der sich über die künstlich generierte Playlist durch die Boxen drängt. Einmal durch den Algorithmus gerutscht? Pech gehabt, aber für den Hörer rückt was nach, er muss nur weiterklicken und -wischen. Zur Seite, nach unten. Sechs Jahre Warten – das setzt vielleicht aber auch ein Zeichen; ein Zeichen, dass es genau dann Zeit wird, wenn selbige eben reif ist. Nun, ganz untätig waren XTR HUMAN seit dem Debüt „Atavism“ auch nicht. Sie waren viel on the road und präsentierten 2018 mit der „Reflections“-EP einen funkelnden Shoegaze/Post-Punk-Hybriden, der schon andeutete, was im Kopf der Wahl-Berliner um Johannes Stabel vorging.
Inhaltlich steht das Reflektieren auch auf dem neuen Longplayer „Interior“ im Vordergrund. Die in Töne gegossene Zerrissenheit und Entfremdung, die Angst vor dem Scheitern und der ewige Zweifel sorgen per se für eine melancholische Atmosphäre, die sich als alert dystopische Schönheit an den Hörer schmiegt und dort verweilt. Weg- und weiterwischen? Wer so gute Argumente hat wie den jauchzenden Refrain von „On A Greater Scale“, das zwischen hellen Synths und verhallten Dunkel-Gitarren pendelnde „Masks Of Faith“, den im Feuerwerk nach oben spritzenden Rotwein-Pop von „On Miracles“ oder „Hearst“, das an die Nullerjahre des Britrock erinnert – man wird sich so schnell nicht aus dieser Umarmung lösen wollen. Das ist Achtziger-Post-Punk, der die Brücke zum UK-Indie-Rock des 21. Jahrhunderts schlägt und dabei kurzweilig im Vergnügen, fokussiert im Songwriting, knackig in der Produktion (Lemmy Fischer von Jaguwar) ist. Stabel gibt den mal verzweifelten, mal beschwörerischen und immer getriebenen Romantiker mit erdigem Timbre auf den Stimmbändern, während um ihn herum ein dichtes Geflecht an Gitarren und Synthesizern schwirrt.
Sechs Jahre braucht es manchmal, um seine persönlichen Grenzen auszuloten und in einen gesamtgesellschaftlichen Kontext zu setzen. Sechs Jahre, die sich für XTR HUMAN ausgezahlt haben.