Sybarite Cut Out Shape

Xian Hawkins’s first full-length since 2002’s Nonument on 4AD is a mixed bag of new material and collected tracks from previous singles and compilations. As such, its lack of cohesion can be forgiven. Sybarite reads like a scruffy and scrappier cousin to Stereolab or the ’90s era Silver Apples that Hawkins had tenure with before striking off solo. The title track cuts a swath of dance floor rug and drops it into a candle-lit rock practice space. The vocal-driven tracks like "Sanctuary” and "Runaway” (featuring Psapp’s Galia Durrant), gain a sharper counterpoint the instrumentals sometimes lack. The crescendo-to-nowhere guitar work in "Memory End,” for instance, sounds like a Broken Social Scene outtake. Other times the electronics and "real” instruments sound like they’ve arrived unassembled, waiting for someone to puzzle out the slots and brackets they fit. If Sybarite was a band one might guess the members’ backgrounds would be too dissimilar to gel very well. (Temporary Residence)