XXL //

DÜDE (Tin Angel)

14/20

Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart has never tried to conceal the fact that he can be a bit of a loose cannon. But while his lyrics often express emotional instability, the intricate musical arrangements on his Xiu Xiu records demonstrate that he’s a seriously focused and disciplined musician. Sometimes Xiu Xiu’s tracks are so crammed with ideas that you wonder if Stewart is restricted by the pesky inconvenience of providing a vaguely cohesive song structure. XXL is Stewart’s collaborative project with Italian post-rock heavyweights Larsen, and this is where the guys get to push their musical ambition to the limit. Düde, XXL’s third album, is the result of improvised sessions hastily recorded. As expected, it gets pretty wild. Oi Düde is an 18 minute-long apocalyptic krautrock jam, Disco Chrome misleadingly kicks off as disco-punk banger then soon disintegrates into a surreal sci-fi freak-out, driven by an electrified Kaolimba and bizarrely subsided with falsetto singing. But, actually it’s the most tender moments on Düde which work the best. The drones of Krampus are blissfully tranquil and the album closes with Vaire, a poignant electro-pop tune that’s actually pretty (whisper it) catchy. XXL could perhaps be accused of being a little indulgent, but if you’re willing to welcome Düde with an open mind then you’re in for a rewarding and surreal listening experience.

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Words: David Reed

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