My Heart Is A Knife (EP)


Detention Span, 2006

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Following the footsteps of bands like Massive Attack, Sneaker Pimps and Portishead, trip-hop wannabies are a dime a dozen. While some of them are truly interesting, the majority has a recycled sound that fails to have little spark of originality.

Xtatika falls under both the categories. While it tries to dish out some seriously original music on the My Heart Is A Knife EPmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 , it ends up having a sound that’s weak and too formulaic.  

Xtatika’s music needs a whole lot of improvement. The problem is not the songs themselves, but the more visceral aspects of the songs. Xtatika attempts an industrial-electronic approach to its music, but the production lacks the meat to give the music that fullness that is demanded of it. On what could have been perhaps the most powerful cut on the record “All I Wanted,” Haena Kim gives a strong vocal performance, but hardly gets the support she deserves from the music department. The minimal beats are weak and the overall music lacks gravity, without which the song sounds absolutely emaciated and disastrous.

One of the better tracks, the title song, is more souped up and hence has a sound closer to what the band is trying to achieve. Similarly, “Cerulean Days,” the second of the two good tracks on the album has some meat on it and does show that the band can write sharp songs.

Another problem with Xtatika is that Haena Kim might be setting her sights too high. It is clear that she is modeling her singing after trip hop’s powerful singers like Kelli Ali, Bjork and Beth Gibbons, among others. But her vocals do not have the personality to match the kind of songs she is trying to sing. She does have her high moments, like the sexy high pitch yells on “Cerulean Days” but her singing is mostly inadequate, and on the opening cut “Last Kiss” especially her voice is weak to the point of ruining a song that could have been passable if only the vocals were better.

Xtatika is a decent band with flaws. The band is clear as to what direction it wants to take, but has some work to do on how to get there. My Heart Is A Knife EP is a mediocre record that could have been much better if only the production wasn’t as average. Xtatika shows the potential to deliver a much better album, which sadly it has not created yet.

Rating: D

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2007 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Detention Span, and is used for informational purposes only.