Take two of the indie music world's hottest acts, stick them together on a split release on one of the best record labels in America, make the vinyl any number of pretty colors and patterns and you have a recipe for success. Along with a ridiculously predictable, by numbers, 'I can't be bothered thinking too hard' way of opening a review. The idea is simple: Devendra Banhart covers Xiu Xiu's 'Support our Troops Oh!' and in return Xiu Xiu tries their hand at Banhart's 'The Body Breaks.' Not a hard concept to grasp.
Banhart's track will polarize opinions like the rest of his work: his patented vocal warble is there like ever, which by now you probably already love or detest, or like me enjoy in occasional short sessions. It's cute and catchy, but there is something just not right about it. Perhaps it's the fact that it's impossible to take anything he does terribly seriously. This is all well and good when he's singing about spiders, flowers or just generally being a magic mushroom eating 21st century hippy. But when he's singing lyrics like 'Did you know you were going to shoot off the top of a four year old girl's head / And look across her car-seat down into her skull / And see into her throat and did you know that her dad would say to you, 'Please sir, can I take her body home?'' it's just uncomfortable and not in a good way.
Xiu Xiu on the other hand triumphs as per usual. Seemingly retreating back to the more accessible, in the loosest sense of the word, sound of Fabulous Muscles, while interjecting peculiar chimes and a generally unusual percussion as only they know how. Additionally Jamie Stewart's more heart-on-sleeve vocal style adds a more emotional dimension to lyrics like. For example, 'The body burns / Yeah, the body burns strong / until mine is with yours / then mine will burn on.' Granted, it's no "Ian Curtis Wishlist", but any new Xiu Xiu is appreciated.
6.1 / 10
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