In 2009, former ghosts released the album fleurs. To me this album was (and still is) perfect, from the gloomy (and surprisingly danceable) ‘dreams’, to the very joy division-esque ‘hold on’. Every song was an epic win, and the fact that the band consists of THREE of my favourite artists (Jamie Stewart, Freddy Rupert, and Niki Roza) only made the album better for me. The album was an ultimate triumph of synth-pop goodness. So, how does new love differ?
Well it doesn’t, it’s yet another ultimate triumph of synth-pop goodness.
Opener ‘the days will get long again’ pretty much solidifies this, with deviously simple instrumentation and heartfelt, metaphor laden lyrics (‘’ Let’s stay wrapped up in sheets/We'll place fate against fate/We'll stay until the days get long again/The biggest lie that anyone ever told me was...). Then the unbelievably brilliant ‘New Orleans’ pops up and you know the album's going to be fantastic. It’s a mid-tempo track with a very nice synth in the background and a simple beat. The lyrics hark back to the song ‘dreams’ from fleurs (we'll leave here together/have that life we always dreamt of/wooden floors and chandeliers/and you can tell me I’m not dreaming).
And then something amazing happens: my 3 favourite songs on the album appear back to back. First up is ‘chin up’ with the lovely and extremely talented Niki Roza. She doesn’t sound as operatic as she does with Zola Jesus and on this song she sounds reigned in almost. That doesn’t stop the song being any more amazing. (On a side note: Niki Roza should be waaaay more popular then she is. Just saying). ‘…and when you kiss me’ is up next and it as if Freddy has been possessed by the ghost of Ian Curtis (r.i.p). Opening with an insanely good guitar riff (!), it becomes a very happy song with a great chorus (Round and round again/and when you kiss me/It seals my fate). Then my absolute favourite song on the album, ‘Taurean Nature’. The lyrics are a mournful reflection on the end of a relationship, with the narrator stating ‘’ everyone that comes after you/i will love them more than you/just to spite you/yes, just to spite you’’, With an extremely simple backing to force you to listen to what’s being said. It’s so heartfelt that you have to like this song, it’s impossible not to.
So if the album's so good, then why have i given it 4.5? Surely it’s a 5? Well I can’t give it a 5 because it hasn’t changed all that much from fleurs. They haven’t progressed that much, and although it’s a winning formula, a bit of experimentation would have been nice. But I guess that’s what xiu xiu’s for right?
All in all this a superb album. Both of this bands albums have been spectacular and I expect much more from them in the future.
…and when you kiss me