Clan of Xymox’s discography ranges across all areas of the dark alternative underground, having begun in roots of deep, moody new wave with morose overtunes, lightening to a softer brand, returning to gothic rock, and seeming to settle in modern electro-rock darkwave tropes. The style has been their championing signature since 2003’s Farewell, and while 2014’s Matters of Mind, Body & Soul doesn’t stray far from the pack, its subdued approach to their current creative methods capture a softer side of the band that past albums have not quite managed.
Matters of Mind, Body & Soul has a very distinct tempo, with all songs plodding along at slow paces with delicate darkwave synths wielding all sorts of delicate, somber tapestries against a backdrop of soft beats. Ronny Moorings, in infinitely unmistakable fashion, persists in his soulful crooning. Be it fast, slow, dark, or light, his penchant for honest emotion has not lost a single shred of its compassion during Xymox’s nearly three-decade career. “She’s Falling In Love” and “I Close My Eyes” are all floaty melodies and echoing shimmers in conjunction with the wail of Moorings. “Hand In Glove” has a sultry moog line that grooves like Gothicized blues riffage, made all the more decadent with the swirling sounds and twinkling piano lines that sound muffled by water. “Your Own Way” furthers that moog trend with buzzsaw bass synths and a bouncing riff to carry Moorings’s voice. “I’ll Let You Go” is as remorseful as its title suggests, consistently boasting sweeping keys and dual acoustic guitar strumming. And the ambient electronic depths of “Chinese Whispers” carries it out slowly until descending into silence.
The band stated on Facebook that the album is intended as a Valentine’s Day gift, having been released on the same day. Considering the approach to Xymox fanfare and the lyrical content of the songs, it’s easy to connect every song with love affairs, both happy and sad, romantic and tragic. Texturally, Matters of Mind, Body & Soul keeps the Clan of Xymox bible in line with what has preceded it in the last decade, but with songs of this quality, it’s a welcome continuation.