This is an album of strange pain. The cover artwork says so itself, just gaze into it: a blurry image of a naked woman tied up on a bed. Are you telling me this is a woman as a lover? Who is this girl? Is this punishment? Some kind of sadomasochism? What is happening?
What we (seem) to have here is a collection of love songs gone astray due to unfathomable violence, identity confusion, and self-loathing. They are racy, militant recordings mostly about hellish experiences. The lyrics are dirty and suck like black holes. Often, the titles speak for themselves:
- “In Lust You Can Hear the Axe Fall”
- “Guantanamo Canto”
- “You’re Pregnant, You’re Dead”
Even when names appear harmless they merely disguise the perverting and machinating minds behind them; take for example, track #7 “Black Keyboard”:
A child is nothing without hate.
Be certain he feels his love is trash.
All of this is sonically complemented by energetic, manic contrasts. These sounds are appropriately beautiful, as well as disturbing; the range is alarming, the blending fantastical ––
Like in the last song, “Gayle Lynn”, that operatically belches. Only to churn, then to talk; only to squall: lulling and laving thousands of emotions into one master, all-encompassing expression. Remorse, ebullience, curvaceously vexing ––
This is Xiu Xiu, this is Women as Lovers. This is a fly recording, something worth purchasing and loving for years and years.