Xiu Xiu FORGET

Xiu Xiu FORGET
8
"Accessible" is a relative term. With FORGET, the latest from Xiu Xiu, it's a case of being outside and strange but somehow relatable, as opposed to borderline unlistenable — it comes down to how long it takes singer Jamie Stewart to get under your skin. On past releases, that's taken some time, but with FORGET, it's almost instantaneous.
 
Yes, things are less avant and more electro-pop here, and traditional song structures replace wild flights of experimental fancy, but it's all solidly written, and retains the band's edge, too. Besides, when Stewart's voice kicks in with its distinctive warble — conveying both vulnerability and menace — it's immediately identifiable as the weird and wonderful world of Xiu Xiu. Songs like "Queen of the Losers" go there with bombast, featuring oodles of electronics and a wall-of-sound chorus, whereas others, like "Hey Coco Bananas," are more subtle and intimate.
 
The more cerebral, out-there music fan may find it all too easy, craving the satisfaction that comes with gaining an appreciation of music that's challenging to the ear. Most, however, will rejoice; as should you, because FORGET is overwhelmingly and immediately Xiu Xiu. (Polyvinyl)