Xiu Xiu
Girl with Basket of Fruit


4.0
excellent

Review

by Aaron W. STAFF
February 12th, 2019 | 147 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Limit of questions.

"This image [Caravaggio's "Boy with a Basket of Fruit," c. 1593] is the crux of the record. When this title is a boy it is fey and lovely. When it is a girl is worrisome and rife with danger. Male martyrs are almost always surrounded by nurses, their mothers, adoring angels and other loving disciples wrapping their crushed and holy bodies in strips of herb soaked cloth and weeping rapturously. Female martyrs are almost always depicted having their skin flayed, breasts branded or ripped off with tongs or being stabbed and they are always, always alone save for her murderers. There is never anyone by their sides celebrating their spiritual life, only fiendishly reveling in their torture of her. It is perilous to be a “girl.” Look at almost any paintings of girls from this era and it feels tense, as tense as it is now and as tense as it remains. Fuck this world." - Jamie Stewart

Girl With Basket of Fruit is the only record Xiu Xiu could've possibly made after what was the impossibly positive, yet unsure-sounding Forget back in 2017. The music contained on the album is hyper-aggressive, manic, even unpredictable at times, but that's the magic of what Jamie Stewart is doing, for better or worse. Some don't like this confrontational approach to music, where Stewart often goes into deranged, gruesome confessionals about himself, others or instead opts for horrific anecdotes (note: we bear witness to all three this time around) that tend to hinder one's patience with the band's work or further stokes their interest. As noted above, Stewart's main influence on Girl With Basket of Fruit is the danger of the roles forced upon the sexes, his own disgust at particular misdeeds cast upon the common people in wars, plagues, riots, the list goes on.

The lyricism throughout Basket of Fruit often invokes imagery of violent lynchings and the celebration of such obscene and vile acts; or abstract body horror far too ridiculous to be deemed grotesque, if that's more your speed. But Stewart has always had a habit for making music that makes us uncomfortable, something that has been perfected over the years, while no longer retaining the raw shock factor that sustained stuff like "Support Our Troops OH!" or the self-hatred found on "20,000 Deaths for Eidelyn Gonzales, 20,000 Deaths for Jamie Peterson." However, to Stewart's advantage, his own songwriting has become more refined and varied since those early records made on cheap equipment and shitty synthesizers. Which, in turn, makes the moments where Jamie bares everything out for all to see no less powerful than what it was back in the day. Material such as "Mary Turner, Mary Turner," and "Amargi ve Moo" is perhaps the most direct and in-your-face Xiu Xiu has been in ages, which contrasts wonderfully with the chaotic percussional freak-outs of "Girl With Basket of Fruit" or the slow burning electro-industrial "It Comes Out as a Joke." Words really can't accurately describe what makes Xiu Xiu and Jamie Stewart's writing so timeless no matter the sound or the subject matter, but it never fails to have an emotional power that very few can retain for so long and captivate with ease.




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user ratings (78)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2019


18464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

no words [to describe how bad i described this]



"Scisssssssors" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkK6GT4pkbU



https://www.talkhouse.com/a-guide-to-xiu-xius-girl-with-basket-of-fruit/

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Dance of the Moon and the Sun

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 11th 2019


29589 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I listened to Forget half-heartedly and never rated it but decided to sink my teeth into this. I'm coming from a place of relative inexperience but I'm getting heavy Daughters vibes (at least with regard to their most recent album). The weirdness is kind of off-putting at times but more often that not it's engaging. Good review, too.

Digging: Copeland - Blushing

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2019


16664 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I thought of Daughters too tbh. When robert christgau connected the dots of Anthony fantano’s taste with the term “dark prog”—sounds dumb, but certainly SOMETHING clicks b/w death grips, daughters, swans...—I thought of that as well. So Anthony fantano will likely love this? Idk, who cares right. Didn’t seem all that engaging to me, too much tension without release, but I like it better than daughters lol

sixdegrees
February 11th 2019


5397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

any dark proggers here?

Digging: Rei Clone - Greetings From Somewhere

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2019


18464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I hate the DG descriptors mainly because Jamie has been doing this for almost 20 years, even more if we include his stuff with IBOPA/Ten in the Swear Jar, only the fact it's far more evident now is bring these comparisons when this is nothing new to Xiu Xiu.



@Sowing listen to Knife Play/A Promise. Better yet, any of the first four or five records.

gschwen
February 11th 2019


119 Comments


I want to like this album because I have a casual interest in some of the songs he’s written. However, this album is just inaccessible for me. None of it grabbed me, none of it was particularly interesting. I just feel meh to blah about the whole thing.

If someone thinks Pumpkin Attack “bumps in the whip”— that person was mistaken. Sorry.

Tyler.
February 11th 2019


16270 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

youre right they are mistaken. that song actually slaps in the whip im afraid

sixdegrees
February 11th 2019


5397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

common misconception

Dewinged
February 11th 2019


14482 Comments


Really enjoyed the read Frip. Not a fan of their music myself and far less of the subject in hand so I'll probably steer away from this.

Digging: Chasms - The Mirage

BMDrummer
February 11th 2019


14440 Comments


fuck yes!! rejoice

Morpha
February 11th 2019


26 Comments


Nice ms paint cover

Storm In A Teacup
February 12th 2019


26223 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

sweeet xiu xiu season once again!

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2019


18464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"Nice ms paint cover"



jokes aside, the choice in cover is talked about in the article I linked

Storm In A Teacup
February 12th 2019


26223 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

tried reading and all i can picture is puumba singing "I'm a sensitive soul"

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2019


4730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Great review and kudos for including the guiding article. From what I saw, Angela had a big role in producing and coming up with the material behind the artwork and lyrics.

I love how misguiding is their music at a first glance. Can't wait to see them live in a few weeks, yaaaay!

Digging: My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult - In the House of Strange Affairs

DoofDoof
February 12th 2019


1956 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

'Fuck this world'



Everyone needs a catchphrase

DoofDoof
February 12th 2019


1956 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Seems like the sort of album you'd need to have a series of essays written to support the work.



Not a compliment.



Visuals might help too, plus some interpretive dancing. Definitely interpretive dancing. This band should be all over interpretive dance.

Demon of the Fall
February 12th 2019


9689 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Ok, I re-read the quote and now I understand he's actually talking about a painting from a bygone era (which was expected given the context), yet he's saying the world is still fucked up (which I guess it is in some way), but using this as an example of the failings in modern society doesn't appear that relevant to me. I'd rather he stopped trying to be arty (quite literally) and talked about the issues modern oppressed women face, or maybe he does in the record idk? I certainly won't be listening to it again in order to ascertain whether this is the case.



Album sucks.

Jasdevi087
February 12th 2019


5406 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fripp managed two paragraphs tho so...

Demon of the Fall
February 12th 2019


9689 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I actually quite liked Knife Play and The Air Force (despite their inconsistencies) by the way. My tolerance for this sort of thing has either eroded away over time, or this is as musically empty as it appears to be.



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