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Xiu Xiu - Knife Play

  by Cila Warncke

published: 11 / 3 / 2002

Xiu Xiu - Knife Play
Label: Rue Christine
Format: CD


Wilfully hip, but disappointing and messy debut album from San Jose neo-wave noise pop artists Xiu Xiu

Alternative music can be a wonderful thing, sometimes. Other times it makes you want to flee to the comforting arms of Stock-Aitken-Waterman. San Jose-based band Xiu Xiu’s debut CD 'Knife Play' is ‘alternative’ music of the latter sort – the sort that’ll make you run, not walk, to your nearest HMV and clutch Gareth Gate’s Unchained Melody to your bosom. Vocalist Jamie Stewart sounds like he’s singing from inside a shower stall, and judging by his reedy whine some prankster keeps flicking the cold water on. Meanwhile, the rest of the band are apparently in the garden shed hammering on rubbish bins and torturing gerbils to produce the nerve-wracking mish-mash of squealing feedback and sauce-pan banging that passes for music. To be fair, perhaps the lyrics are startlingly deep and original, but as they are rarely audible over rest of the racket no one will ever know. Faced with something this utterly dreadful the inclination is to look for irony, or at least an explanation. Hopeful visitors to www.xiuxiu.org , however, are going to be further disappointed. Rather than offering a justification (or, better still, an apology) for this mess Xiu Xiu devote the page to self-consciously ‘quirky’ bios (sample sentence: She has written an unreadable novel, fished a dead turtle from Lake Merritt, played hot potato with special needs kids) and a fawning collection of links to websites such as ‘Scenester’ and ‘Vegan Action.’ The whole thing whiffs insufferably of adolescent ‘coolness’. Alas, being wilfully hip is no substitute for putting in the effort. If Xiu Xiu really care about music they are going to have to learn that in music – as in job interviews, and on first dates – presentation matters.

Track Listing:-
1 Don Diasco
2 I Broke Up
3 Luber
4 Hives Hives
5 Dr Troll
6 Over Over
7 Anne Dong
8 Suha
9 Poe Poe
10 Homonculus
11 Tonite and Today

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