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Review: Xylouris White's 'Mother'

Con Stamocostas reviews Xylouris White's third offering

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Xylouris White. Photo: Facebook

25 January 2018

Following on from their debut album 'Goats' released in 2014, and 2016's 'Black Peak' comes the new Xylouris White offering, 'Mother'.

The combination of George Xylouris' masterful lute playing, and Jim White's effortless, intense drumming is replicated on their third release. Like previous albums, the music demands your attention and if you are interested in putting it on in the background you have made the wrong choice.

From the higher tempo songs to the slow traditional ballads, the nine songs are almost jarring. The duo's first single off the album Only Love, is quicker in tempo than material on their previous two albums. It's an explosion of lute and drums and a must-see when the band next performs live in your city.

Xylouris says the song was not meant to be a departure from their previous style but a sign of the band's growth.

"The music is maturing into our souls and into our characters and together makes something different," he says.

"The song is about someone who gives a lot and takes a little bit back, maybe even not at all. It says I want you to be joined with my love. That it is something to me, so give me the opportunity to give you more."

The other stand-out song on the album is track five Daphne which was written by Cretan poet Mitsos Stavrakakis, and Xylouris says it's one of his favourites.

"I feel that Daphne is one of those songs which could in a way be the milk of what music gives you - which is feelings," he says.

"Because the same song has more to give to you every time you play it. I knew it would be refreshed again with different sounds and that's what happened especially the way Jim plays it."

The album cover of 'Mother'.

The second half of the album features songs that carry a more traditional Cretan sound. While they are stripped back, Xylouris' lute combined with White's trademark drumming featuring rim shots and drum fills still has the power to evoke a range of emotional landscapes.

Spuds Garden, with its beautiful stringed accompaniment, and Achilles Heel with Xylouris' deeper-voiced delivery is written by another Cretan poet from the lute player's village.

Only Love is penned by Giorgos Stavrakakis who also originates from Xylouris' village, and so too Motorcycle Kondilies and Lullaby with Woman from Anogia dating back centuries.

Besides mining songs from the musical history of his homeland, the legendary lute player says he was also inspired by his recent travels overseas.

"To travel around the world keeps my feelings awake," he says.

"To play for different people at different venues and see all this nature, to go through the United States, Europe, and Australia I keep myself open and put everything I see into my world; I mean my music world and my feelings world. So, every time I leave Crete I am happy to go away because I will see new things. But I am happy to come back with all these experiences and all these pictures and put it all together here in Crete."

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