Xiu Xiu has seen a lot of line up changes since they started releasing albums in 2002. Now, core members Jamie Stewart and Angela Seo are back with a new record, Forget.
The first two tracks, The Call and Queen of the Losers, are incredibly aggressive and industrial-sounding. Stewart’s vocals are haunting and fragile, and splashes of tremolo and vibrato add to the gothic vibe.
Wondering feels far more accessible, with more melody and a strutting beat. Seo’s backing vocals add a sound reminiscent of Crystal Castles, or a darker Wild Beasts.
Get Up is simpler, with a relaxed two-note guitar riff which gradually builds into intoxicating swells and the overly frank lyrics “You’re the only reason I was born”.
Petite offers a nice shift, with crisply plucked acoustic guitar, and warm, low strings, making Stewart’s vocals clear; this could easily slot into the latter half of Radiohead’s The King of Limbs.
The title track, meanwhile, is a dark, gritty take on gospel, as the almost hypnotic pleading of “Forget” repeats over drawn out organ chords.
Although Forget may seem a bit alien to some listeners,the Americans have created a visceral and theatrical collage, which only gets more inviting as you dive in.