Feb 24, 2017 Issue # 59 - 15th Anniversary
Find It At: AMAZON
Ever prolific and avant garde, Jamie Stewart's ongoing noise-pop experiment Xiu Xiu follow up last year's chillingly excellent Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks with their thirteenth studio album, FORGET. A fairly conventional record by Xiu Xiu's standards, FORGET finds the band in peak form and Stewart's brand of dark post-glam vulnerability alive and well.
Barring the unfortunate and unlikely chance that FORGET lives up to its name, it's arguably Xiu Xiu's most accessible record. Problem is, accessibility isn't enough of a virtue, especially when your band is best known for self-destructive descents into sonic chaos, operatic swells, and emotional vulnerability that teeters into uncomfortably frank territory. Which is an interesting place to find yourself, when playing it safe means abandoning all form and rules. You could argue that Xiu Xiu's integrity is at risk the more radio friendly their records turn. It wouldn't make much difference, because FORGET sacrifices none of Xiu Xiu's identity in favor of marketability. Rather, Xiu Xiu's penchant for experimental noise rock is served remarkably well when it absorbs hints of pop melody and finds a heavier emphasis on danceable beats.
Not that this album would be mistaken for anything more mainstream than Xiu Xiu's previous output. Yes, FORGET is more listener-friendly—aside from the confrontational opening track, perhaps a misdirect for the direction of the rest of the album—but it is also solidly weird, immersive, and dark. The lyrics are self deprecating, delivered through Stewart's depressed glam-diva howl. Sure, a few of these tracks wouldn't sound so out of place on the club floor, which only makes Xiu Xiu's typically abrasive approach easier to digest. But it more effectively manages to capture the chaos associated with some of this band's other records and focuses their intensity into a more cathartic experience for the listener. (www.xiuxiu.org)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 7/10
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