Black Rose features Jonathan Mendelsohn on vocals who featured on their awesome Ghost In The Machine (2015) and is the long-awaited follow-up. Plump kicks knock away under military drums and droning sci-fi textures as the track morphs into life, with one of their trademark rousing hooks teasing into play as we're plunged towards the first break. There awaits another killer lead riff which drives up towards the drop, bolstered by thunderous snare rolls. A stomping broken beat pattern explodes into life with a gliding, gently detuned melody, and it's clear that their production talents have somehow stepped up yet again.
What seems like a straight club banger for the first 1.5 minutes then unfolds into a gloriously anthemic song which gives us insight into what we can expect from XX Files. Mendelsohn's yearning, impassioned delivery soars over twinkling arpeggios, with brooding synths rising from the depths as the chorus swells into life. The biggest riff yet thumps into action with a 4/4 beat, the track continuing to switch between its constituent elements to deliver a dizzying ride that just keeps building and building. The sparse use of the vocal solely in the middle of the track creates an incredibly impactful juxtaposition, the euphoric break bookended by two sections of pure energy. Mendelsohn's sweet tones should be familiar to dance fans, with his tones gracing previous releases by the likes of Hardwell and Dash Berlin and making for the perfect foil for Blasterjaxx's abrasive sound.
More displays yet more impressive diversity. This incredible collaboration with Mister Blonde sounds like nothing else around right now, bursting at the seams with fresh ideas and sounds. Stripping back things to bare essentials in the verses, the track begins with a galloping synth rhythm, chunky finger snaps, a deeply emotive vocal and little else. Things fire into life when the soaring bridge is powered up by fizzing chords and massive snare builds, dropping us into a glorious vocal synth section that's hammered by pounding broken beat kicks. The sleek, minimal approach of the majority of the track is something really different and a clever device which makes the bigger sections kick even harder.
Both tracks are a hugely exciting taste of what's to come from this much-loved duo and are sure to get pulses racing in anticipation for the release of XX Files on March 10.