Friday, January 10, 2014

"Lawrence Liquors"- Xiu Xiu

The most comforting moment in "Lawrence Liquors", the latest violent dispatch from experimental two-piece Xiu Xiu might be the beginning. Compared to what is to come, a shopping cart scraping across broken asphalt is calming. It's the only relief you'll get, a miniscule eye in a massive storm. Soon Angela Seo's laser synthesizer envelops the track, firing on it from every conceivable angle as an industrial palpitation writhes across the battlefield. When frontman Jamie Stewart's voice cuts through the chatter, it's rendered as a death burble. Every utterance, which could be his last, is a static-addled whisper. When he observes, "no one is there" the line is a downward spiral into silence. By the time "there" actually arrives, it's rendered indecipherable. Stewart's realizing the dire straits he's in and opts to save his breath. And in that deafening silence more noise can come. Seo's jaggedly yells "shut up shut up shut up" and any modicum of restraint dies when the guitars and synthesizers erupt into a swarm of dissonance. Giving up the ghost is rarely this messy.

Xiu Xiu's ninth studio album Angel Guts: Red Classroom (named for 1979 Japanese Roman Porn) is out February 4 through Polyvinyl.

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