Xiu Xiu write songs about things that you’re not supposed to talk about. Self-loathing, weird sex and death are all woven into a plethora of different sounds and styles. From the bare-bones acoustic songs of Fag Patrol, to the “gay dance music” and neo-postpunk of Dear God I Hate Myself, Xiu Xiu are a band consistent in their inconsistency.
Forget might be the group’s most accessible record to date, and while hardcore fans of the groups earlier, more experimental work might have some reservations on that point, they should take comfort in knowing that this is also one of the better albums that Xiu Xiu have released in some time.
The trademark vibrato of Jamie Stewart, (which , as ever, feels like it could shatter into pieces at any moment), is still present here, along with one or two screams for good measure. But Forget is an album full of surprises.
The aggressive rap which kicks the album off on The Call feels totally out of place at first, and especially against the comparatively softer vocals of Stewart. But the track manages to quilt these disparate elements together tightly and almost thematically by the end.
Much of the album is nicely drowned in noisy electronic sounds, fuzz and glitches. There’s also a distorted element of dance which runs through many of the darker tracks. The bizarre combination of almost-whispered lyrics to infectious dance beats is right in the foreground. Forget fades seamlessly between apparently disparate emotional environments to a point that it elevates sadness to a matter of kinetic expression.
It’s an album heavy on that particular brilliant element of Xiu Xiu which combines a sense of pain with one of pure exaltation, even purification. Poppier tracks like Wondering could almost pass for a chart-topping indie dance anthem, while the titular track is an absolutely devastating call to literally “forget”. What unites them is a sense of release.