Monday, March 22, 2021

Xiu Xiu : " OH NO"


After 20 years of creating dark music that falls some where between indie rock and post punk, they continue to fuel their legacy wit ha unique album of duets . The first of these is with Sharon Von Etten. These are obviously artists that are in the same zip code as Xiu Xiu's brand of  weird. The first song shows how seamlessly they can blend . One half of Drab Majesty comes aboard for "I Cannot Resist", It is out of the range of  what you might expect from Deb Demure. There is a more ballad like tone than what I might want from this pairing, This is sometimes the price paid for some of Xiu Xiu's experimentation. "The Grifters" is more organic which is fitting considering the fact Haley Fohr is joining him for this one., The vocals have an oddly operatic quality to them.  Next up they are joined by Greg from Deerhoof.  It sounds like this song was recorded in a cave by gnomes. There is no shortage of their trademark weirdness. 

The title track finds their weirdness pushing the boundaries of  atmosphere and noise. It almost becomes more about sound than song.  I no longer do the drugs needed to hear it the way it should be heard.  The reconnect with writing songs when Angus from Liars shows up for "Rumpus Room" . It has a groove and everything.. This is the best song so far. They keep the song streak going with " Fuzz Gong Fight" which is creepy but still moving and dynamic. Violinist Owen Pallet sings  on " I Dream Of Someone Else Entirely" .  He is not an opera singer but comes at singing from a more trained perspective.  Chelsea Wolfe helps them tackle a cover of the Cure's " One Hundred Years" which is one of my favorite Cure songs.  It might be darker than the original . 

Electronic artist Fabrizio Polumbo makes noise with them on "A Classic Screw" . Johnathan from Shearwater reins them in a little for "It Bothers Me All the Time" . Twin Shadow helps to bring some sanity to "Saint Dymphna" . "Knock Out" is more of a song, though Alice Bag does not do a great deal to contribute. Liz Harris forces them to focus more on "Bottle of Rum" . There are some strong songs on here, when they decide to write them. The emotive and original nature of what they do makes up for a lot , so I will give this album an 8.5. Not there best but better than most.   

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