American performance artist Chris Burden once noted that the dwindling fan base of most bands can be attributed to changing tastes or reactionary disinterest. Xiu Xiu, however, has had the unfortunate problem of often losing fans to suicide. (Oh, how very Goethe.) The San Jose-based act sits on a bummer catalogue of depressing, electronically abused, noisy folk rock that shivers the heartstrings into dagger-like icicles. Jamie Stewart, the only constant member, croons grey-cloud enthusiasm with the kind of awkward perversity that would make even Robert Smith uneasy. "Wrap my dreams around your thighs and drape my hopes upon the chance to touch your arm," Stewart sings on 2004's "Fabulous Muscles" alongside other choice lines such as "Cremate me after you cum on my lips." Subtle? Xiu Xiu wouldn't even know how to spell the word. The Air Force (released last week with producing credits by Greg Saunier of Deerhoof) promises more stellar lyrical disillusionment piled onto creepy sampled drumbeats. Get ready to raid the medicine cabinet.
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