Reviews Xiu Xiu A Promise

Xiu Xiu

A Promise

Quite the record. Nothing you are going to sit down and just listen to as background music because it needs your attention. Quivering vocals, electronic drums with random ADD outbursts, acoustic guitars, yet this whole record comes together as being very cohesive. There are some down points to the record though. Walnut House is so incredibly boring. Nothing happens until the end and it's nothing special. Some of the electronics remind me of Roots of Orchis at time. Especially in the song "20,000 Deaths for Eidelyn Gonzales, 20,000 Deaths for Jamie Peterson". Another aspect of this record that appeals to me is the recording. Some of it sounds like it could have been recorded at home, yet it sounds really good. This is mostly apparent in the vocals. They sound like they are in same room with you. Check out "Sad Redux-O-Grapher" for when he screams out. Overall this is an incredibly solid record. Nothing to listen to on a daily basis but definitely a record you'll find yourself pulling out of that huge collection you have, even a year down the road.

8.0 / 10 — Shane

Quite the record. Nothing you are going to sit down and just listen to as background music because it needs your attention. Quivering vocals, electronic drums with random ADD outbursts, acoustic guitars, yet this whole record comes together as being very cohesive. There are some down points to the record though. Walnut House is so incredibly boring. Nothing happens until the end and it's nothing special. Some of the electronics remind me of Roots of Orchis at time. Especially in the song "20,000 Deaths for Eidelyn Gonzales, 20,000 Deaths for Jamie Peterson". Another aspect of this record that appeals to me is the recording. Some of it sounds like it could have been recorded at home, yet it sounds really good. This is mostly apparent in the vocals. They sound like they are in same room with you. Check out "Sad Redux-O-Grapher" for when he screams out. Overall this is an incredibly solid record. Nothing to listen to on a daily basis but definitely a record you'll find yourself pulling out of that huge collection you have, even a year down the road.

8.0 / 10 — Shane

Somewhere between unforgiving and yielding, you'll find Xiu Xiu.

This music is something I can't quite put my finger on, but it's similar to Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The difference between the two being Xiu Xiu loves electronics and likes to add spastic noises at random. Furthermore, Xiu Xiu is more unpredictable. They seem to like to screw around with their music; nothing is static in the hands of Xiu Xiu.

Xiu Xiu's originality is sensible. it's not something that insults the audience or listener (like making an album that's entirely static or non-rhythmic nonsense), it's something that chooses to take a different path, but invites the listener to join. Their lyrics are somewhat similar to Hot Snakes -- they make sense to a degree, but they are, for the most part, too obtuse.
Lyrics, however, do not make music.

Xiu Xiu seems to have it together. Their bursts of noises are playful, yet cynical.

This is something I can appreciate.

8.0 / 10 — Seth

Xiu Xiu are a frustrating band in the sense that their originality is quite apparent, but for many people they are difficult to "get into." After coming away from their 2002 release Knife Play without having really "clicked" at all, I decided to give them another chance with A Promise. Almost wiping clean any trace of a riff or melody that you can really embrace, Xiu Xiu have carefully crafted a record that needs to be experienced rather than just listened to. This is not the type of record that you can ignore and let wash over you every once in a while when something piques your attention or curiosity in a musical sense. Xiu Xiu have released what seems to be a more mature version of their inorganic Knife Play, utilizing their innovation as a means of songwriting rather than just experimenting for experimentation's sake.

The album as a Xiu Xiu release is flawless save for the awful "Walnut House." In "Walnut House" frontman Jamie Stewart tests his hypothesis of "boring, contrived, and downright stupid = good?" After listening to the song once, it's pretty obvious that it's one of those rare tracks on a good, nay, great album that you can skip without any guilt whatsoever. Regardless, Xiu Xiu make up for this awful track and then some by finishing off the record with a series of wonderfully bizarre and beautiful songs, especially "Brooklyn Dodgers," "Ian Curtis Wishlist," and the successful experiment of covering Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car." Maybe I can get into Knife Play after finally hearing what fine music this ensemble is capable of making.

8.0 / 10 — Jeff

Xiu Xiu are a frustrating band in the sense that their originality is quite apparent, but for many people they are difficult to "get into." After coming away from their 2002 release Knife Play without having really "clicked" at all, I decided to give them another chance with A Promise. Almost wiping clean any trace of a riff or melody that you can really embrace, Xiu Xiu have carefully crafted a record that needs to be experienced rather than just listened to. This is not the type of record that you can ignore and let wash over you every once in a while when something piques your attention or curiosity in a musical sense. Xiu Xiu have released what seems to be a more mature version of their inorganic Knife Play, utilizing their innovation as a means of songwriting rather than just experimenting for experimentation's sake.

The album as a Xiu Xiu release is flawless save for the awful "Walnut House." In "Walnut House" frontman Jamie Stewart tests his hypothesis of "boring, contrived, and downright stupid = good?" After listening to the song once, it's pretty obvious that it's one of those rare tracks on a good, nay, great album that you can skip without any guilt whatsoever. Regardless, Xiu Xiu make up for this awful track and then some by finishing off the record with a series of wonderfully bizarre and beautiful songs, especially "Brooklyn Dodgers," "Ian Curtis Wishlist," and the successful experiment of covering Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car." Maybe I can get into Knife Play after finally hearing what fine music this ensemble is capable of making.

8.0 / 10 — Jeff
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8.0 / 10

8.0 / 10

Reviewed by 5 writers.

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