Listening to Clan of Xymox's self-titled LP is like entering a club of black-clad vampires in the mid-'80s. That's not meant as an insult; the album captures a certain time and place. The record epitomizes Ben Folds Five's hilarious discovery in "Battle of Who Could Care Less": "See I've got your old ID/And you're all dressed up like the Cure." This moody, atmospheric record is as dated as a bumper sticker from a "rock of the '80s" radio station. What once seemed cutting-edge is now a nostalgia trip, and for aging goths, Clan of Xymox is home sweet home. Clan of Xymox were never original; they always seemed to be picking from the leftovers of their predecessors: the Cure, Joy Division, Modern English, Dead Can Dance, and New Order. In other words, there are icy, throbbing keyboards; bummed-out vocals; chilly, robotic percussion; gloomy, ethereal guitars; and unusual, cryptic song titles. However, even before their creative peak with 1989's stellar Twist of Shadows, the group knew how to craft some good hooks. Clan of Xymox aims for Joy Division's oppressive bleakness, but vocalist Ronny Moorings doesn't have the late Ian Curtis' intense pain or profound lyrics. The band is at their best when their pop instincts overrule their tendency to lose themselves in misery. "A Day" and "Muscoviet Mosquito" are both mysterious and catchy, propelled by infectious gothic grooves that don't slow down. "No Words" has funky riffs which reveal that Clan of Xymox listen to new romantic groups as well, and "Stumble and Fall" is beautifully lush. There's nothing brilliant or original here; however, the group's derivative sound summarizes the dance sector of post-punk accurately as they pillage from the most popular artists of the genre. An entertaining audio essay of early- to mid-'80s goth rock; from Joy Division to Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox never leave a page unturned.
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AllMusic Review by Michael Sutton