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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Force Of Nature, 27 Mar. 2010
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dear God I Hate Myself (Audio CD)
Xiu Xiu's new album 'Dear God I Hate Myself' has got the lot!

Edgy grandeur, raw emotional power, droll humour and authentic vision.

Broadly speaking the band's music is an idiosyncratic brand of intelligently
constructed electronica. A delicious rag bag of wild musical imagination!

Jamie Stewart is a fine leader. Playing a wide range of instruments
(including : guitar, bass, harmonium, celeste and percussion) he
and his fellow musicians Angela Seo, Greg Saunier and Ches Smith
create a hugely varying palette of brightly coloured sonic landscapes.

The inherent complexity of the music, however, never strays too far
from an in-built and thinly disguised upbeat pop sensibility.

Opening track 'Grey Death' delivers a powerful introduction to the project.
Mr Stewart's voice, both here and elsewhere, is a fragile, heady warble;
appealing, affecting and just a tad other-worldly.
The dense arrangement and driving rhythm provide just the right
backdrop to his wonderfully melodramatic performance.

'Chocolate Makes You Happy' made me smile. It is a worthy anthem
for Mrs Wolf's obsession (I witnessed her polish off three walnut whips
and most of the top layer of a box of Belgian truffles whilst watching
Lord Lloyd Webber and Mr Norton in search of a worthy Dorothy on
the televisual box yesterday evening).

The sinister lyrical subject matter of 'House Sparrow' makes for very
uneasy listening. The fractured beats and Mr Stewart's uneasy falsetto
reinforce the nightmarish atmosphere. A truly frightening invention.

The subtle slides and elusive tonal shifts of 'Hyunhye's Theme', with
its dark synth arabesques and crashing percussive interruptions,
brings light and shade to a track which never quite settles down into
any kind of tidily predictable direction and is all the more effective
because of the ambiguity.

Title track 'Dear God, I Hate Myself' is a roller coaster of a song.
Mr Stewart bares his soul with a light touch and dark conviction.

'The Fabrizio Palumbo Retaliation' is one of the album's finest compositions.
The surreal narrative is brought to startling life by the band's energetic
interpretation of the richly imagined melodic and rhythmic material.

The traditional folksong 'Cumberland Gap' is a curiously displaced stripped-down
bonbon for voice, banjo and percussion which, none-the-less, sits comfortably in
the company of its more florid Bohemian cousins.

'Impossible Feeling' is, for me, the project's starkly majestic highlight.
The brutally bowed cello and rattling percussion bring savage elemental
energy to Mr Stewart's most potently convincing vocal performance.

Xiu Xiu, on this evidence, are a force of nature to be reckoned with.

Highly Recommended.
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Dear God I Hate Myself
Dear God I Hate Myself by Xiu Xiu (Audio CD - 2011)
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