Bryan Ferry, Franz Ferdinand
" Cologne, melancholic crooners Xul Zolar would have been the ultimate soundtrack to any 80s romance movie "
Named after an innovative, Argentinian painter this art-rock, electro-indie outfit from Cologne are the manifestation of 80s nostalgia, soft-pop, and delicious songwriting. Compared to the likes of Simple Minds, Phil Collins, and other such informed electro-synth-pop pioneers, Xul Zolar are love-lorn, modern ballad-crooners; tight instrumentalists, melancholic to the core.
The band formed in 2011 after singer Ronald Röttel and guitar player/keyboardist Marin Geie met up in Cologne’s notorious ‘Club Sheisse’. With a few 7”s to their name, and their own imprint Asmara Records, the band released their eagerly awaited debut LP ‘Fear Talk’ earlier on in 2018. With spacey guitar licks, rolling synths, 80s percussive drive and soft, emo Bryan Ferry-meets The XX vocals, ‘Fear Talk’ makes the perfect soundtrack for long drives, and date nights. Singles ’Nye’, and ‘Soft Drone’ drive home the bands New Order, and Talk Talk influences. ‘Combat’ itself could very well have been a late Genesis single. ‘Fear Talk’ features a driving guitar line, while album opener ‘Two Months’ narrates a pace, and percussive balance that sets the album’s subdued aesthetic. Röttel’s soft, melancholic and gentle lyricism channels the inner-fire of Bryan Ferry, sitting on a wave of fine music craftsmanship, with drums that resonate and reverb further than any pop record ever should.
Along with the likes of Woman, Holygram, Roosevelt and others, Cologne is fast becoming the indie-rock capital of Germany, if not Europe. Xul Zolar have carved out their reputation from playing all of Germany’s leading festivals, while notching up miles thanks to several leading tour supports. All they need now is to find a time-machine, and have themselves featured on some old Miami Vice episodes, or any Richard Gere movie.