5 / 10
US indie-bloggers adore them but the UK has so far proved resistant to Xiu Xiu’s charms. This is probably because they sound like a cross between Final Fantasy and a splitting headache. Their sixth album is also as pretentious as you would expect a record named after a novel by Austrian feminist author Elfriede Jelinek to be. Jamie Stewart sings timidly, spewing self-important verbiage like “your suicide is politics” while fragments of song scatter around him. It’s a bit like the mosaic-pop of Dirty Projectors, except while the Projectors’ twists and turns are guided by fiendish logic, Xiu Xiu’s music just seems fiddly for the sake of it. An unexpected and brilliant cover of Queen and David Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure’ halfway through the album ought to have shown Xiu Xiu how much more can be achieved with tuneful notes and words that actually mean something. But to no avail.
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