Xiu Xiu - Fabulous Muscles (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Xiu Xiu

Fabulous Muscles (2004)


Xiu Xiu, for those of you who don't know, is a weird band. I'm going to say this flat out. Jamie Stewart's vocals are very unique and sometimes off key. The songs feature various instruments, but the end product is definitely a form of electronica. While putting forth a new sound with intricate and interesting chord progressions, what really makes this band is the intimacy that Jamie Stewart delivers through this wavering voice mixed with the overall dynamics of their albums.

On their 2004 release, Fabulous Muscles, I don't feel the intimacy as much as on A Promise or Fag Patrol. If it were not for those two previous albums as an example of Xiu Xiu at their best, this album would have been at least a nine. That being said, let's take a dive into Fabulous Muscles and see what's inside.

From the crunchy noise riddled "Support Our Troops OH!" to the soft acoustic title track, Xiu Xiu delivers a raw mix of songs. "I Love the Valley OH!" and "Brian the Vampire" stand out as masterful works of fuzzy electronica full of driven emotion and intense instrumentation. In contrast with that, "Nieces Pieces" and "Little Panda McElroy" are softer, slower tracks packed with the same amount of emotion and intensity.

Comparisons easily made would be something along the lines of Morrisey mixed with Sigur Ros. Roughly. So don't shoot me if that's not the vibe you get. Again, this is a band that definitely cannot be done justice by reading about them. At their official website, a few tracks off Fabulous Muscles are available for streaming. Take a listen. I dare you.