Tuesday, December 21, 2010

#7 Album Of 2010: Dear God, I Hate Myself - Xiu Xiu

Dear God, I Hate Myself

Xiu Xiu
Kill Rock Stars Records.

Original SCQ Review

To paraphrase a notion of dialogue that 2005’s Capote quoted from Truman Capote: it’s as if Jamie Stewart and Sufjan Stevens grew up in the same house, only one went through the front door and the other slid out the back. Each songwriter enjoys playing conductor of their small symphonies and both hold noteworthy positions on the topics of sex and religion. Nevermind the overwhelming differences between their musical results and instead look upon how their similar focuses create perfectly opposite outcomes.

Boy that comparison’s bound to anger a lot of protective fanboys but the link would’ve never struck me had Stewart’s softer, intimate vocals not recalled Stevens over the course of Dear God, I Hate Myself. He’s still very much the confrontational, affecting songwriter we’ve always depended on Xiu Xiu for, but his violent storytelling over songs like ‘Grey Death’ and ‘The Fabrizio Palumbo Retailiation’ is communicated with such a vulnerable quiver, it deems even the LP’s most abrasive moments a cathartic bath. From the distortion-pedal rush of ‘Secret Motel’, which was recorded on a Nintendo DS, to ‘Hyunhye’s Theme’, which plays out like a dysfunctional Astral Weeks with a bunch of experimental session players improvising at will, Dear God, I Hate Myself pedestals Stewart – alongside Stevens, although completely coincidentally - as one of indie-rock’s most magnetic songwriters.

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