Historically, Xiu Xiu has not been a bandage that’s attainable to accept to. In fact, their music is generally difficult and, occasionally, absolute painful.
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Take, for example, their awning of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” off of 2003’s “A Promise.” On this version, the bandage trades the airy syncopation and gritty, soulful vocals of Chapman’s recording for a ample clip and the whiny, disturbing articulation of Xiu Xiu frontman Jamie Stewart.
After bristles account and 53 seconds, it’s abundant to absolutely piss you off, abnormally if you like the Chapman adaptation — best abnormally if you don’t like to accept that you adulation the Chapman version, that it speaks to you and gives you hope, but it does and you do.
But “Fast Car” is not absolutely a blessed song, no amount who is singing it. Even as Chapman looks to a brighter future, her achievement is a hopelessly aberrant one, adhering as it does to an American ideal that passes her, her lover and best of the blow of us by. So what potentially makes this Xiu Xiu awning so abhorrent is that it is accurately bleak, aboveboard abnegation to put on a adventurous face in a song about abjection and despair.
But to achieve actuality would be to accident missing the point entirely.
Xiu Xiu’s music isn’t so abundant about animosity (appropriately or afield rendered) or attainable listening, but rather about music and sounds and limits. “Art” and “experimental” are agreement that get befuddled about a lot aback it comes to anecdotic annihilation that’s not on the Billboard charts, and yet art and analysis assume to be absolutely what is at pale here. As boilerplate music continues to be anxiously packaged by able producers (see: Timbaland, the Neptunes and anyone who’s anytime formed with Nelly Furtado or Gwen Stefani), bands like Xiu Xiu accept pushed back, arduous expectations of what constitutes a acceptable voice, a acceptable melody, a acceptable song.
With all this in mind, then, it seems like a blasphemy to say that some songs on Xiu Xiu’s latest album, “Women as Lovers,” are improbably catchy. Admitting occasionally hearkening aback to their noisy, unpolished roots, the bandage has adopted a pop sensibility, conceivably as a aftereffect of their accord with Deerhoof bagman Greg Saunier (who additionally produced 2006’s “The Air Force”). Picking up on about aphotic capacity of obsession, death, bondage, Stewart seems to accept found, if not the will to live, again at atomic the will to occasionally accent forth to a abundantly bouncing melody and clever, toe-tap inducing percussion, provided by Ches Smith.
That said, admitting the anthology is absolutely their best attainable appropriately far, Xiu Xiu still isn’t abundant accomplishments music for your abutting ball affair or Wednesday afternoon at the gym. And, admirable and masterfully crafted as they may be, songs alleged “You are Pregnant, You are Dead” and “There are Two Men in a Red Mercedes Trying to Rape a Woman In My Parking Lot” aren’t activity to get abundant boilerplate airplay.
But, in the words of Pablo Picasso, “painting is not fabricated to adorn apartments.”
And, in the words of Cursive, “Art is hard.”
So yes, Xiu Xiu is adamantine and occasionally unpalatable. But activity is adamantine and occasionally unpalatable. So man up, or aloof adore the album’s awfully listenable aperture track, “I Do What I Want, Aback I Want” on amaranthine bend and avoid the blow of the songs entirely.
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