The myth of Sisyphus involves an evil king. As the king of Ephyra, he promoted commerce and shipbuilding, but he was also greedy and unkind, going so far as to kill guests. Hospitality in ancient Greece was a sacred trust bestowed by the Gods (in particular Zeus), so for this insult the Gods sentenced Sisyphus to an eternity in Tartarus. Every day he would roll a huge rock up an equally huge hill, finally reaching the top only to see it slip through his fingers to roll down to where he had started.
Xylouris White is a musical collaboration that has been going on since 2013. It consists of Dirty Three drummer Jim White from Australia, and George Xylouris, a laouto player and singer from Crete. The album as a whole is held together by the main instruments of drums and laouto, which means that fans will easily recognise the work that the pair do, despite this album being a departure from the faster and more rock-n-roll style of other albums. Most of the album is slow and meditative, with the exception of Black Sea, which seems to imitate a stormy day.
Every track feels as though it is focusing on a particular part of the land and sea of Greece, building up an atmosphere. The melancholy mirrors the melancholy that Sisyphus must feel as he constantly rolls a rock up a hill, day after day. The first track, Tree Song, is particularly good. It sets the scene for everyone coming back to the album, showing them that Xylouris White are taking a different approach to their music this time around, and showing newcomers what they are all about.
The best tracks on this album include the aforementioned Tree Song, Telephone Song, Goat Hair Bow, and Ascension. Each has their own approach, but each brings a sense of longing and melancholy to the table.