Xiu Xiu is the brainchild of Jamie Stewart. It’s the home for his agitated pop, synth-driven shoegazer-referencing indie-pop and therapy outbursts that sit (un)comfortably within three minute slices of pop hits from an alternate radio universe – sometimes feeling like an art-project; installation of sound as pop song (I Luv Abortion).
Across the last decade Stewart has released an increasingly impressive, dazzling even, body of work. An album a year, pretty much – and if each is not improving on the one before then there is at least one or two pieces that challenge and new sounds to investigate. Here The Oldness makes the career of Perfume Genius redundant. And reminds that Antony & The Johnsons would have gotten nowhere without the gimmick of faux-Gothicism and cross-dressing.
Spectacular, creepy, paranoid, dark and deeply beautiful I’m stuck with Always; I can’t stop listening to it. It’s one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. Xiu Xiu has become an artist/project you can rely on, sure. But I think this is – so far – Stewart’s masterwork. Frighteningly good.