The variety of songs on XXXX better highlight Ninkovic’s singing. For someone with a pixie-like speaking voice, she can switch from sneering to sultry. She sounds richer and more soulful overall. Krista Loewen’s backing vocals sound noticeably stronger and more present too. She even sings the lead vocals on the final song “Heart of Gold.” Prior to recording the record, Loewen and Ninkovic received training from vocal coach Sharla Souder. It seems to have helped immensely. I love how both their voices swirl together on the album closer. Maybe we can expect more duo vocals in the future.
When a band evolves, it’s natural to miss having more songs like the earlier albums. Personally, I think a couple of harder tracks would smooth the transition. At least they’ve opted for diversity, not a total replacement of style. You sense musicians searching for the right sound rather than for what’s popular. Polished, but still raw, XXXX displays some expressive and catchy vocal talent.
Grade: 4 out of 5 stars
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You Say Party! We Say Die!'s website
"Glory" and "Dark Days" live performances from their rehearsal space