Release Date: Feb 8, 2019
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Limit of questions. "This image [Caravaggio's "Boy with a Basket of Fruit," c. 1593] is the crux of the record. When this title is a boy it is fey and lovely. When it is a girl is worrisome and rife with danger. Male martyrs are almost always surrounded by nurses, their mothers, adoring angels and ….
With Forget, Xiu Xiu delivered another fine example of their music at its most accessible; on Girl with Basket of Fruit, they return to their most challenging side, and prove once again that it's just as integral to their art as their dark synth pop. As on Angel Guts: Red Classroom, Jamie Stewart and company find new ways to describe and confront the horrors of the world. Even on Xiu Xiu's terms, the title track is a startling beginning to Girl with Basket of Fruit.
Them: "What are you thinking about right now, Jamie?" Jamie Stewart: "Every frog hops right up into her butthole/ Every frog eats a single butthole flea on its way in/ She brown box squeezes them all into froghost!/ A flock of erect dicks on bat wings/ Pee-pees into her sleeping face/ And pointlessly tries to fuck a blue sky/ At the witch execution, they all hope to be called up." Yup, Stewart may have lost his mind. If those lines from the title track off Xiu Xiu's latest album titled Girl With Basket of Fruit don't leave a charming first impression, I don't know what will. Sarcasm aside, Xiu Xiu--through its numerous evolutions and variations--continues to exist on its own musical spectrum.
Jamie Stewart had rested on his laurels for a while. Though 2017's Forget challenged gender norms and flayed a few nerves, reigning electroclash champs Xiu Xiu toned down the jump scares and turned in a rather seductive trip, with much of the same color swathes from 2014's Angel Guts: Red Classroom. With Girl with Basket of Fruit, Stewart has carpet-bombed his own industrial treadmills beyond recognition.
Girl With Basket of Fruit at least sounds incredible. Across nine uniformly taut tracks, Xiu Xiu slash into and race out of growling viola drones and battered hip-hop junkyards, smoldering torch songs and noise confessionals, racing against some apocalyptic countdown clock. "Pumpkin Attack on Mommy and Daddy" puffs its chest and raises its fist like Death Grips entering the octagon; "Amargi ve Moo" reimagines a world where Lou Reed and John Cale never had rock band ambitions.