Monday, February 18, 2008

Xiu Xiu - Women As Lovers

Xiu Xiu
Women as Lovers
(01.2008, Kill Rock Stars)
Verdict = Best Xiu Xiu Yet

I have always wanted to love Xiu Xiu on record. Live they are absolutely stunning, possibly one of the most consistently incredible live acts I have ever seen. However, on record I have always had a difficult time. Perhaps it is the extremeness of the vocals on record as opposed to how they are more a layer of the clouded mix of noise live, or perhaps it’s that their intense live sound simply can’t fit within the confines of a plastic disc. Either way, each album has left me wanting just a little bit more than was offered. This time around Xiu Xiu has managed the record that I have constantly hoped for: an accessible, consistent record. Don’t get me wrong here – this is still Xiu Xiu and if you felt that there was no way that you would ever enjoy the band, Woman As Lovers probably won’t convert you. However, for those on the sidelines, Xiu Xiu’s continually expanding roster (including the most recent addition of bassist Devin Hoff) works wonders. Ches Smith continues to provide incredibly inventive drumming and, thankfully, Caralee McElroy continues to add her wonderful vocals to the mix. Surrounding himself with tremendous talent, Jamie Stewart’s brainchild has moved from being a band that you can’t ignore to the band that you don’t want to ignore. It seems that the band has hit its stride, upping the accessibility while retaining the signature sound that can only be attributed to Xiu Xiu; and it’s their best yet. After five records that have continually pushed the envelope, “their best” is a considerable accomplishment.

-Mr. Thistle

Xiu Xiu - "I Do What I Want When I Want"


Spruce Lee said...

Does "best Xiu Xiu yet" translate to listenable? Because, while I'm with you that live they actually are a good band, I just can't seem to bring myself to appreciate more than a few of their recorded songs. I kept them on my ipod for the longest time thinking they might eventually win me over, but they recently lost me completely and I just ended up deleting them entirely.

Mr. Thistle said...

IF you have already abandoned your previous Xiu Xiu then this probably won't bring you bakcto the fold.