||Click on CD Cover for Audio Review in streaming mp3 format|
Xander and the Peace Pirates: Order Out of Chaos
(Independent Release, as broadcast on WVIA-FM 8/3/2022)
The roots rock genre is often called Americana, rightly so, drawing on folk, country and some blues – all very American artforms. But this week, we have an outstanding British band who deliver the roots rock style as well as any American band. They are Xander and the Peace Pirates, and their new second album is called Order Out of Chaos.
The group was formed by brothers Keith and Stu Xander, spelled with an X, with Keith being the lead vocalist most of the time, and Stu on acoustic guitar. The began attracting attention when the head of branding at Gibson Guitars caught them on video and invited to play at various Gibson guitar events. Around 2010 they became the house band at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool, where the Beatles were discovered, and served in that capacity for some five years. They frequently appeared as the opening act for performers like Manfred Mann and Robben Ford.
After they recorded their first album in the Netherlands, the band’s the new recording was done closer to home in the UK, and features Mike Gay on guitar who had produced their last album, along with Joel Goldberg on bass and Adam Goldberg on drums. The band is tight and the production crisp, with songs that embody the roots rock ethos, and lyrics that sometimes harken back to the days of protest songs, some with idealistic lyrics, and bits of the peace and love philosophy from the psychedelic days. But there are more conv entional love songs as well. The band is self-contained on the album with the exception of a couple of background vocals, and in their three guitar lineup, one of them is usually an acoustic guitar.
About the title of the album, Order Out of Chaos, Keith Xander writes in the liner notes about of his view of dichotomy between order and chaos, suggesting “We are both the chaos and the order. We seek to escape both the chaos and the order through seeking control over what is not in anyone’s control.” And some of those thoughts are woven into the lyrics, which can at times evoke the hippie era. But that’s not a bad thing.
Opening is track called We Cry with a classic roots rock sound, reminiscent of Neil Young. It laments the state of the world. <<>>
Leave the Light On makes reference to homelessness, in another plea for making the world a better place. <<>>
Soul Sailing is more about soul-searching in a tasteful, soul-influenced setting. <<>>
The title track Order Out of Chaos delves into the themes that Keith Xander talks about in his liner notes. It’s a very nice piece of writing, both musically and lyrically. <<>>
The track called Into the Water, one of the love songs, is done in a scaled back setting with a nicely atmospheric sound. It’s one of the highlights of the album. <<>>
Another of the album’s love songs is Kiss Your Rain done in a classy setting, another example of the band’s skill in setting up the musical mood for the lyrics. <<>>
A relatively short piece called Fog deals with mental and moral fog people may feel that are living in. It’s another of the sort of things that used to be a topic in the hippie days. <<>>
The album ends with Heart Stop, the closest thing to a straight out rocker on the album, both musically and with lyrics implying libido in classic rock and roll form. <<>>
Order Out of Chaos the new second album by the British roots rock band Xander and the Peace Pirates, shows that the Brits can do great roots rock as well. The group combines very tasteful musicianship and production, with intelligent lyrics. In the roots rock tradition, there is nothing flashy about the musical setting, But the worthwhile material and great tunes make this a thoroughly first-rate album.
Our grade for sound quality is an “A.” The mix is clean and warm and the use of reverb and ambiance is very effective and pleasing.
While territory covered by Xander and the Peace Pirates has been explored many times before, this British band serves up their own brand of Americana with a lot of class.
(c) Copyright 2022 George D. Graham. All rights reserved.
This review may not be copied to another Web site without written permission.
Comments to George:
To Index of Album Reviews | To George Graham's Home Page. | What's New on This Site.