OH NO by Xiu XiuRelease date: March 26, 2021
Label: Polyvinyl records
Xiu Xiu have consistently released rich and compelling records for the past two decades and the band who now consist of Jamie Stewart (the groups founding member) and Angela Seo have just brought out their twelfth album and it is an album that undoubtedly strengthens their legacy while sounding like nothing they’ve released before.
That latest album which is titled OH NO, Xiu Xiu collaborate with a whole host of vocalists and bands to create a record of duets with brilliant results. With its combination of eclectic art rock and striking electronics, OH NO sounds not only like a band that have been reenergized, but one that has brought a selection of good friends along for the ride.
The album features everyone from Chelsea Wolfe and Sharon Van Etten to Twin Shadow and Alice Bag and one of the great things about that is that these guest artists all bring something uniquely of their own to the table and this seems to elevate Xiu Xiu tremendously. Jamie Stewart and Angela Seo sounds like they are having a ball too, letting their music and ideas run wild and even though every song on the album features someone different, it all seems very coherent when you listen to it which is part of the album’s charm.
From the fantastic and grandiose opening gambit of ‘Sad Mezcalita’ with Sharon Van Etten to the quirky and fantastically short closer ‘ANTS’ with Valerie Diaz, this is fifteen songs of varied styles and vibes but those songs all come together to celebrate exactly what Xiu Xiu are all about.
Highlights abound constantly but the breathless Sharon Van Etten and Jamie Stewart opener which kicks the record off superbly is a strong opening statement, ‘The Grifters’ which features Haley Fohr from Circuit Des Yeux is beautiful and sublime in equal measure. The album’s title track with Susanne Sachsse is a haunting pleasure. The cover of The Cure’s ‘One Hundred Years’ with Chelsea Wolfe adds an element of darkness and danger to proceedings while ‘A Bottle Of Rum’ with Liz Harris from Grouper is comforting, hazy and familiar all at the same time and all deserve a special mention as are all truly special. With Alice Bag, Drab Majesty, Liars, Twin Shadow, Owen Pallett and Shearwater all also on board amongst others, the scope and eclecticism on here is very impressive.
OH NO is an atmospheric and forward thinking album that cements Xiu Xiu as an outfit that are constantly pushing their music forward and with a choice selection of guest artists adding so much variation. This is an album full of ideas explored, and those ideas are ones that sound majestic throughout.