by Xiu Xiu
and Kill Rock Stars
This is the best cd of 2004 hands down. It hits me emotionally at both a gut level and so much higher, it makes me think and feel and can bring me nearly to tears from time to time. If you asked me why I'd be hard pressed to say what exactly I love about Xiu Xiu. However I've have to say this. From the moment they begin playing to the very dark end they pull you into worlds that you never thought existed, maybe you hoped didn't exist. Worlds that are real, places where people from time to time inhabit.
Listen to a song like "Bunny Gamer" which is like going into the head of a lover "it feels retarded, I want you to like me, will you be there tonight, do you mean it when you say what you say.. Fixing up my hard, I want to impress you, today and everyday." Then we have: "I'm not who you want alright alright alright... Buddy Gamer stand up, Buddy Gamer where have you been all my life, Buddy Gamer take me with you okay okay, okay okay." It may not read like much but the effect is beautiful and disturbing and so much truer to me than any three chords and the truth that we hear so much from jack-ass rock critics. Xiu Xiu tell the truth, and many don't want to hear, for the darkness and awfullness of the lyrics can sometimes be too much. Many don't want to let the sordid truth of human devpravity and existence spoil their worlds, so they close up to a song like "Nieces Pieces". "I can't wait to watch you get older, I can't wait to meet the first boy that breaks your heart, I can't wait til you realize the family you've been born into, I can't wait to watch you turn from good to bad, I can't wait to tell you your granpa made your mommy play stripper while your uncle watched.. I can't wait til you realize your mommy's heart is broken, and watch you grow up around the people who broke it."
Singer, leader and writer of Xiu Xiu, Jaime Stewart, infuses these songs with a black humor which sometimes comes as a very tender thing, like the last song about, I'm assuming, his fathers death, as his very emotional performance might suggest where he sings terrible truths about our relationships with our parents, and then tells his father he loves him and will forever, finishing this with a joke: "pull my finger" as if to allieviate the tension and grief of the whole song. As with any heartbreaking moment in music it's difficult to explain how well this works, and how it makes such perfect sense to me.
Every song on here makes sense to me in some way. Xiu Xiu fill up their songs with some of the most inventive arrangements I have heard in a long time, and very inventive melodies, even if it's just Jaime Stewart and a guitar like on the title track.
It's hard to describe how much I love this cd and treasure it. It's painful for me to listen to yes, but that's why I love it. Like any great cd I can't listen to it always, I must put it away for the best moments, wait until I can savor it, and then I will usually listen to pretty much just it for a long time. Xiu Xiu's effect on me in total, they bring me to a meditative state, a state of heart break and anguish, but not depression, they make me feel, and make me feel deeper than most any band I have ever heard. However I don't know if this effect is the same on everyone, so I suggest going at the disc knowing that it is difficult, it is scary, it is dark, but if you are open you may be hearing one of the best bands to grace the otherwise mostly dull Indie scene. Also if you end up liking this go out and buy every cd by Devendra Banhart, he is another person who can do the same thing to me. Fortunatly with Devendra my girlfriend is absolutely nuts over so we can both listen to him.
2:I Luv the Valley OH!
3:Bunny Gamer (b)
4:Little Panda McElroy (br)
5:Support our Toops Oh! (Black Angels Oh!)
6:Fabulous Muscles (Mamu Black Widow Version)
7:Brian the Vampire
8:Nieces Pieces (Black Knife version)