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Bella Union

Xiu Xiu


So you’re a freak. You’re a queer in a world full of right-wing lunatics and jocks who want you to die. You recoil in horror at the exploitation, destruction, macho war mongering, sexism and racism which exist all around you. Bad things have happened to your friends and family. You were bullied at school. You have self-esteem issues. You are a musical genius. What do you do? In the case of Xiu Xiu’s principle songwriter Jamie Stewart, you put your bleeding heart on your sleeve, set it alight to music and watch it burn.

The broad Xiu Xiu agenda is set out on the first track and first single off Always, ‘Hi’: “If you’re wasting your life, say hi/If you are alone tonight, say hi/If you wish you should die, say hi-hi, hi-hi”. It’s a call to arms for lonely fuck ups, fuelled by amphetamine beats. It gets more creative in warped imagery as it continues (“If you have poked out your eyes say hi/If when you open your arms Ferdinand gores you in the chest”), and eats itself at the climax.

There is a musical and lyrical fearlessness to Jamie Stewart’s creations which make Xiu Xiu’s music a thousand times more effective than the music of most people with guitars and synths and low self-esteem. Musically Xiu Xiu blend post punk, techno, synth pop, choral music and classical, never going easy on the percussion. They are not self-obsessed. Stewart casts his eye far wider than the sphere of his own personal misery. Not atypical harrowing Xiu Xiu subject matter is found in ‘Gul Mudin’, a song about a teenage Afghani boy murdered for sport by American soldiers. In this track Stewart’s vocals sound like a drunken opera singer caught in an electronica gunfight. Which is amazing by the way.

  • 01. Hi
    02. Joey’s Song
    03. Beauty Towne
    04. Honey-Suckle
    05. I Luv Abortion
    06. The Oldness
    07. Chimney’s Afire (Mickensian Suicide)
    08. Gul Mudin
    09. Born to Suffer
    10. Factor Girl
    11. Smear the Quen
    12. Black Drum Machine

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