“Come now, don’t make such a funeral face. It isn’t dying that’s sad; it’s living when you’re not happy.” – Clara, The Torture Garden
Even serious fans would likely not have known it. But “Xymox” is some manner of inversion of the word “zymotic,” whose Merriam Webster definition is such: “relating to or being an infectious or contagious disease.”
So it’s hard not to attempt to extract some deeper meaning in Amsterdam’s gothic legends Clan of Xymox returning with new recorded material somewhere in the middle of a global pandemic—though their home continent seems to have a much greater handle on it than that part of North America that lies between the Canadian and Mexican borders. Existing continuously for three-and-a-half decades now, its figurehead and only constant member Ronny Moorings has been ever diving down deep into the psychological depths, so that we, his listeners, may be led towards the light amidst a world of so much darkness.
And indeed, a new album is due July 24—their 15th, and first in three years—titled ominously, Spider on the Wall. For some, certainly, assorted arachnids may have provided the only living companionship during these four months of quarantine…so the corona connection runs even deeper, if only by coincidence.
One wouldn’t be shocked at the album’s sonic palette, which draws on Clan of Xymox’s rich history of opulent, somber, and at times ominous atmospherics; but it does contain some of their absolute best work. One track, “She,” shares the chilly, shiver-inducing aesthetics of Disintegration era Cure, but with a significantly higher BPM. And the awesome “All I Ever Know” sets a tale of reflective romantic longing against a lush backdrop and relentlessly galloping electro beat. It is a masterpiece of visceral evocation.
Forced by the coronavirus to abandon a successful American tour in March, we caught up with Moorings while he was back in the cultural hotbed of Leipzig, where he currently lives with wife and bandmate Mojca Zugna.