Xiu Xiu has been utilizing the same brand of weirdo, post-punk influenced dream-pop for years. Only so many people have been kind enough to notice, however. On Women as Lovers, the group's sixth LP, Jamie Stewart just may have found a way for his brainchild to both appease established fans and, perhaps, reel in some new ones.
It's a "brave new world" after all, and musical stigmas just aren't what they used to be. Xiu Xiu's meandering style structure and modern classical dabblings can play much wider now than they could have, say, six years ago. Do I know why? Absolutely not. But I do believe it to be true. Add this to the fact that Women as Lovers is simultaneously Stewart's most relatable account (save for maybe Fabulous Muscles), filled with creeping truisms and darkly veiled smirks, and Women As Lovers may prove to be Xiu Xiu's most successful work to date.
It's not that there are many curve balls thrown here in regards to Xiu Xiu's overall appeal or style, but Women as Lovers quite delicately pours on some extra layers to the richness of their sound, making the experience downright luxurious. And it is within this refined, rejuvinated identity that Women As Lovers find its urgency. This is a surprisingly addictive listen.