12 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s no quarter asked or given by Xiu Xiu on Always, one of the most extreme (and ultimately cathartic) releases in the band’s catalog. Lead singer/chief mastermind Jamie Stewart takes his love for confrontational lyrics to new heights amid clattering rhythms and dense, astringent synth textures. His agonized flutter of a voice brings out every iota of anguish in “Beauty Towne,” “Joey’s Song,” “Chimeny’s Afire (Mickensian Suicide)," and similar tunes. From the panic-attack atmosphere of “Born to Suffer” to the somber confessions of “The Oldness,” he brings an almost operatic sensibility to his performances. The vocals of Angela Seo and Carla Bozulich (featured on “Honey-Suckle” and “Smear the Queen,” respectively) add eerie sweetness to the proceedings. The band’s penchant for political commentary is given full rein on scathing tracks like “I Luv Abortion,” “Gul Mudin," and “Factory Girl,” while “Hi” transcends its sense of rage as its reaches out to the world's damaged souls. “Black Drum Machine” closes the album with a sustained burst of shrieking noise.

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s no quarter asked or given by Xiu Xiu on Always, one of the most extreme (and ultimately cathartic) releases in the band’s catalog. Lead singer/chief mastermind Jamie Stewart takes his love for confrontational lyrics to new heights amid clattering rhythms and dense, astringent synth textures. His agonized flutter of a voice brings out every iota of anguish in “Beauty Towne,” “Joey’s Song,” “Chimeny’s Afire (Mickensian Suicide)," and similar tunes. From the panic-attack atmosphere of “Born to Suffer” to the somber confessions of “The Oldness,” he brings an almost operatic sensibility to his performances. The vocals of Angela Seo and Carla Bozulich (featured on “Honey-Suckle” and “Smear the Queen,” respectively) add eerie sweetness to the proceedings. The band’s penchant for political commentary is given full rein on scathing tracks like “I Luv Abortion,” “Gul Mudin," and “Factory Girl,” while “Hi” transcends its sense of rage as its reaches out to the world's damaged souls. “Black Drum Machine” closes the album with a sustained burst of shrieking noise.

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