From punk to rock, dance to pop, the chaotic, experimental sounds of Xiu Xiu flood their latest record, creating an album that transcends genre.
On Xiu Xiu’s record, “Forget,” every synth, keyboard, bass, guitar, drum and sample is precisely chosen to elevate sound beyond tradition alongside frontman Jamie Stewart’s cryptic lyrics and idiosyncratic performances.
Stewart’s energetic shouts, ghostly calls and dynamic, emotional vocal performances amplify the stories of drugs, death, lust and abuse that drive this album’s themes.
Stewart’s voice alone stands out among the sounds of all other artists as Stewart manipulate his pitch and distorts his delivery with bizarre vibrato.
He also experiments with genre-bending features, strange vocal improvisations and deconstructive structure.
Stewart’s vocal performance transcends all boundaries with the cryptic, experimental and emotional lyrics he sings.
“The Call” exemplifies Xiu Xiu’s vocal bending as they experiment with guest rapping that juxtaposes Stewart’s singing. As the lyrics being rapped are straight forward with raw emotion, the lyrics being sung are part of a cryptic storytelling.
The repetitious rapping of “You wanna see it. You wanna tick it. Wanna lick it. You wanna kiss it,” are juxtaposed with Jamie Stewarts emotion signing of “I call out your name in the night, and in certainty you are worthless.”
Xiu Xiu uses this pairing to portray polar sides of an animalistic and sexual relationship vacant of anything more meaningful.
To amplify the emotions of Stewart’s lyrics and vocal performances, Xiu Xiu uses an extraordinarily wide range of instrumentation.
Each instrument sounds crafted to perfection as each note expresses more emotion than most artists do in their entire career.
“Get Up” is Xiu Xiu’s most clear use of ranging and emotional instrumentation as the track shifts from minimalism to a cacophony of synths.
“Get Up” starts slow with skeletal drums alongside a repetitive, simplistic base rift, but as the first verse comes to an end soft, sci-fi synths begin to appear which slowly amplify the beat as Stewart’s vocals gradually increase in intensity.
As the bridge ends, consuming, emotional synths parade through the track and engender an emotional high.
After the post-chorus the instrumentation explodes with mountainous fervor as an endless range of synths drive the track to its bitter sweet end.
Strange crash samples and unstable feedback move their way through this album with jaring energy that dictate the dissociating anxiety that blesses this album.
For instance, the title track uses industrial samples which blend with the drums to create unique, anxious patterns.
Shifting, echoing samples in the background make for a strange, eternally depth atmosphere.
The samples that run through the background increase the song’s pace and pull Stewart apart as he performs against a chaotic backdrop, invoking the sense of something demonic lurking throughout the track.
Xiu Xiu is the best example of visionary innovation as with this album they provide sounds from the future.