Xiu Xiu 
Knife Play
/Absolutely Kosher - 5RC; 2002/

rating : 9




more info :

You don't know what the fuck's happening to you when you hear the first seconds of Knife Play. You feel like you've just been punched in the face with noise, weird cymbals and a screaming tight haunted voice. And then you get used to it. And at the end of the song you've fallen in love with the music.

Xiu Xiu are four people (two girls and two guys) from California. They play a beautiful and original music. This is a combination of Post Punk, synths, Dance beats and a goth feeling. New Post Punk, i guess. Jamie Stewart's voice is the sharpest weapon in the band's bag. He takes you by the throat and sings/screams lines such as "it's always the same / nothing happens" right in your face, on the verge of falling apart. And you can't help but feel moved. Listening to Knife Play is a physical experience, the emergency in both the lyrics and the singing highly disturbs me. The Hives Hives Chorus is the best example : lines like "A.I.D.S / H.I.V / I cannot wait to die / can't you tell ? / can't you tell ?/ can't you tell ?" are sung with a really unsettling conviction. Knife Play is both affecting and attaching, the songs are so sad they almost end up sounding merry, even though they're uncompromisingly serious.

Don Biasco opens the album in a very efficient way, making you feel like your stomach's shrinking. I Broke Up (SJ) is probably the oddest song on Knife Play, everything sounds quite "normal" until Stewart screams "THIS IS THE WORST VACATION EVER! I'M GOING TO CUT OPEN YOUR FOREHEAD WITH A ROOFING SHINGLE!" which is followed by innocent-sounding la-la-las. Luber features brass instruments which add a little warmth to the song. The most desperately sad song on the album is by far Suha, in which a hopeful melody is mixed with incredibly dark lyrics. Poe Poe would be played in your local nightclub if this world was cool. The basic thumping dance rhythm and the melody contrast with the still-haunted lyrics "no, there's nothing that i'd rather do", increasing even more the dramatic quality of the song, and as I said, you can dance to it, like there's no tomorrow. I don't know why but I associate it with an imaginary nightclub scene. oh well. Homonculus is a growling song, underlined by out of tune piano parts which explode in the end in a chaotic sonic nova. The final song, Tonite and Today only features piano and Jamie Stewart's beautiful bare voice singing "this is my last year." This is an awkward thing to say but I really hope it isn't.


/sept 1st 2002/