|An unfettered sense of pure rock bliss emanates from every moment of “The New Kid Revival,” the opening track on Her Space Holiday’s mercurially titled album, XOXO, Panda And The New Kid Revival. It’s a hook-infested romp with the kind of eternal weightlessness that gives acolytes of this brilliant brand of pop the sense that they’ll never see the consequences in the moment. The moment is for living, a sentiment that comes through in songs like “No More Good Ideas,” “The Truth Hurts So Much This Should Be Painless,” and “The Year In Review,” a song that beats on the refrain, “Sing out, sing out your joy / raise up, raise up, raise up your voice.”|
In an incredibly sophisticated, song construct way, Her Space Holiday raise the hair on the back of a listener’s neck and remind them that shoe-gazing days preceded clock watching. The offering of XOXO, Panda And The New Kid Revival represents a departure for Her Space Holiday, clearly the most live, instrumentally intricate in the band’s discography. Characterized as a knob-turner bedroom electronic experimentalist, Mark Bianchi has turned his sights on hooky pop and hits on all cylinders. His fourteen tracks feel like the best of Nick Lowe, or better, Magnetic Fields: spontaneous, optimistic, in love with its doe-eyed view. Repeat listens won’t come from a sense of “How did he do that?” Rather, the album will go on repeat for that fleeting sense of “My, oh my.” It’s riveting song after riveting song.
If this is indeed the genre departure point for Her Space Holiday—fifteen releases into their career, a bold move at any assessment—then it should be understood as a successful one. What XOXO, Panda And The New Kid Revival has that many of the others in the catalog lack is a divine sense of warmth. It’s a record that bats its eyes when you sing its praise—out of modesty, because its embrace could never be glib. - Kevchino