steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Xiu Xiu

"A Promise" CD

5 Rue Christine

Genres: no

PO Box 1190
Olympia WA

Jun 16 - 22 2003

If there's one thing that's more pretentious that A Promise itself, it's the reviews people have written about it.  Just about every reviewer on the planet has had a go at writing about this disc, and it's as if they were all in a big race to see who could best match up to the extreme intellect and unmatched, stripped-down honesty that Xiu Xiu display on this album.

Well, fuck that.  You know, we can all use long words and make deep - albeit contrived and illogical - observations.  Why should I bother?  I'm no likely to be more correct about what exactly Xiu Xiu's intentions were in writing and performing A Promise than any other reviewer.  I doubt anybody's even come close.  And the fact that the band got hundreds of writers to put together lengthy, boring-yet-"hip" analytical essays on what exactly they've gotten out of listening to this disc just makes me laugh.

What do I know?  There's a naked guy on the cover.  A battered, frail guy.  Holding a baby doll.  On a slightly rustled bed.  Clothing - jeans, sweater, underwear - lay beside him.  It's a haunting image, to say the least.  And the music is no less disturbing.  Whether it be a passionate "pop" number with lyrics like "I like my neighborhood/I like my gun/Drive in my little car" or a breathy, despaired cover of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car," there's always a sense of impending doom carried through A Promise.  By the end of it you'll be happy it's over but you'll probably play it again and again anyway.

Well.  This review's been pretty pretentious itself, hasn't it?  Inconsequential, but pretentious.  Fuck.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 songs, distributed by the label, released 2003]