Xiu Xiu - The Air Force (2006)

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The Air Force is, without a doubt, Xiu Xiu’s best album and grandest statement. Continuing to sabotage otherwise-perfect pop numbers, here the sabotages in question make the Xiu Xiu experience all the more compelling, instead of distracting. “The Fox & The Rabbit”—at the one-minute mark—suddenly throws in a swelling string section to compete against the electro pop-and-lock IDM beats and surprisingly simple lyrics about looking into space and simply not knowing one’s place in the universe. By the end, keyboard reverb is stretched out to fill up an entire canyon with sound, still maintaining the simple beats that started it. The dark electro-wash of “Bishop, CA” starts with the line “This blue dawn of sickly light / That is daytime in your embarrassed town / Burns a hole in the fading yellow ribbon / On your fading white color cavalier,” and reminds you of a great Xiu Xiu strength: to find emotional vulnerability in abusrdism.

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