The XO – Naked Craving (2021)

Influenced by the likes of Gorillaz, Joywave and Twenty One Pilots, The XO is a group of talented musicians with a unique and edgy sound. Originally part of a now-dissolved project, the US-based trio showed versatility by “bleeding from the previous band”. Featuring frontperson Jake Red, bassist Andrew Casares and guitarist Tanner Vaughn Stephen, The XO have performed at Six Flags and opened for Drake Bell (among other accomplishments).

Described by A&R Factory as “a sound perfect for the modern market, part underground, part mass appeal”, The XO cater to almost all listeners’ needs. Featured in Talk About Pop Music, iHeart Radio, Eat This Metal and several other online radio stations, Red, Casares and Stephen are reaching audiences on an international level. Following their well-received single ‘What A Waste’ (read our review here), The XO add ‘Naked Craving’ to their repertoire.

Recorded with renowned producer Geoff Rockwell (Memphis May Fire, Crown The Empire, Forever the Sickest Kids) at Wax Studio, ‘Naked Craving’ teeters on the cusp of alt-rock and pop-rock with hip-hop meets emo undertones. Difficult to describe – although I will try my best – ‘Naked Craving’ incorporates soaring vocals, powerful guitars and pounding drums in a smooth river of sound.

Showcasing their innovativeness, ‘Naked Craving’ is almost worlds apart from ‘What A World’; however, it retains the sharp intimacy expected from the trio. Languid instead of sharp and flowing instead of abrupt, the new single elegantly exudes intimacy with a dark chilled vibe. Jake Red’s hoarse vocals meld superbly with the well-placed instrumentation creating a desolate sense of vulnerability which is enhanced and removed with the crescendo to a catchy chorus.

I adore this type of music – simplistic and bare showing the heart beating beneath the song, but with an intrinsic complexity making the listener feel all sorts of emotions at once. A highly provocative group, The XO have a means of dragging you through a tumultuous river of music but coming out refreshed on the other side.

All in all, I love what The XO have created with ‘Naked Craving’. It appeals to the heavier, more intense side of the melody but also has a screaming empowerment. The best way for you to experience The XO is by listening to their music…I can only take you so far.

For more from The XO check out their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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