HOUSE OF SHAKIRA – XIT (2023) *HQ*
“Xit” is the title of long-running Swedish melodic hard rockers HOUSE OF SHAKIRA new studio album, their 10th overall. The release follows the band’s last studio album “Radiocarbon” in 2019 and the 25th Anniversary reissue of the band’s debut album “Lint” in March 2022.
House Of Shakira is known for having a distinct sound that stands out amongst other bands in the melodic rock genre by mixing hard rock with several other musical styles and “XIT” further cements their status as one of the more inventive bands in the genre.
The vocals soar, the melodies rise, and the guitars bring it all back together. All these components make listening to the band’s music a great experience. Because of the diversity of the music, House Of Shakira does not fall under your typical hard rock banner and in a world of musical clones, this is indeed a breath of fresh air.
House Of Shakira are one of the most consistent and enjoyable melodic hard rock bands out there, as proved through their body of work over the decades.
Originally called The Station, House Of Shakira is a Swedish melodic hard rock band originally formed in Stockholm in 1991. After deciding to change their name at the behest of a Swedish record label, “The Record Station”, who thought the band’s name was too close to their own, their new moniker came about in an interesting way. A German magazine that had reviewed their demo and noticed the band had no name ran a contest to have their readers pick the band’s name. Geoff Noddings, a reader from England, entered the contest and suggested the name “House Of Shakira”. In 1991, newspapers in England had written about a boutique store in London called “The House of Shakira.”
Using the sale of clothes in the boutique as a cover, the store actually offered and sold a very different commodity, as it was in fact a bordello. The band loved the name and thought then, and still today, that the name is a nice metaphor for something that is not what it seems to be. That certainly fits in with their music not being what one would normally expect of ‘melodic rock’.
This band neither dilute nor distort the genre, but use it as a solid base to which they add layers of invention, constantly capturing rock’n’roll lightning in a bottle. This new album album is full of catchy tunes and memorably melodic hooks, from ‘Twisted Attitude’, a helter skelter slice of slick pop immediacy to ‘Toxic Train’s repurposed funk, and a chorus lifted from the Robby Valentine Playbook.
It’s simply a series of musical delights, full of expertly managed arrangements, with most vocal lines shadowed by brittle, tightly packed falsetto harmonies, underlined by crunching guitars. ‘Something In the Water’ launches the album with some Eighties’ upscale New Wave Rock, a post Eagles Glenn Frey – a rock song shining with bright pop songcraft.
The prime, hard edged melodic rock of ‘Too Much Love’ and ‘The Message’, both richly textured and almost entirely lacking in sterile studio gloss are bulletins from the future of the genre. Only ‘No Silver Lining’ dares step away from the chosen path. The lyrics’ downbeat philosophy gives the song an attractive melancholy undertow, which turns out to be the calm before a lengthy, heart stopping hook.
”Xit” is a perfect, pop meets melodic rock classic, from a band who never stuck to the formula, and thankfully, still don’t.
01 – Something In The Water
02 – No Silver Lining
03 – Toxic Train
04 – Your Exit
05 – Too Much Love
06 – The Messenger
07 – Twisted Attitude
08 – Nowhere Bound
09 – Chimera
10 – Hell Or Heaven
11 – Xit
Andreas Novak – Vocals
Mats Hallstensson – Guitars, Vocals
Anders Lundström – Guitars
Per Schelander – Bass, Vocals
Martin Larsson – Drums