I knew almost nothing about this band prior to going along. I now know that I’m glad I went.

Date: January 21, 2014

Venue: Bodega

It’s not clear what MMX stands for. According to various websites, it’s anything from Roman numerals depicting 2010 to an album by rapper Xzibit or the airport code for Sweden’s Malmo airport.

Whatever their perplexing moniker, this Oxford electro-noir quartet are equal parts The Killers on horse tranquillisers and White Lies popping Nytol on a sleepover with Alunageorge.

They’re far from sleepy or yawnsome, but somehow they’re somnolent in an uplifting way. Like electro insomnia. That’s not a criticism; their art is a beguiling mix of 80s pop fused with a futuristic bent; like a revisited director’s cut of Blade Runner for the 2014 masses.

The White Lies comparison is particularly abundant on the band’s older tunes. Atmospheric shifts in mood mash with chest-beating, defiant swipes at the mainstream, like an electro wasp buzzing around an indie core.

New songs have taken on a more sweeping electronic vibe, with bulging synths forged from a pulsing rythem aided by chilled out Balearic grooves and a soft pillow of squelchy beats.

Chiming guitars add an almost Cure-esque sheen to their oeuvre, proving that they clearly embrace the dark side of the 80s whilst keeping within touching distance of the future.

MMX: code, it seems, for a slab of retrospective pop-noir.


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