It’s been a long wait for a new album from Chicago’s Michele McGuire. Her last EP was five years ago, with only a couple singles released since then. On July 5th she’ll release the debut EP from her new project, Xo Nihilo. It’s a big departure from the folk/country music for which she’s known.
It all started back in April with the release of a Bon Iver cover (“Beth/Rest”). As a person who is definitely not a fan of Justin Vernon’s music, I was surprised how well the cover was done. Hearing it on the record with the other tracks Xo Nihilo recorded, you can really feel the influence of that particular song.
There’s also a bit of an 80’s vibe to a lot of the tracks. The way the synths are used and the production gives it all a kind of new wave feel. The first couple songs are slower pop ballads, but my favorite song on the EP is “Chasing Revelry,” which is a total banger.
Like most great tunes, there’s a darkness underneath all the funky drums and production flourishes. It’s a whole party in one song that really sounds something like if Scissor Sisters covered the xx. It is certainly a contender for my year-end list of best songs.
McGuire has taken her time and crafted the best work of her career. My only real complain is that the high marks that start the album start to taper off toward the end. They’re all good tracks, but it might have been made better by cutting one and saving it for a separate release.
As mentioned before, the EP comes out on the 5th of July. You can follow any news from Xo Nihilo here.