Nestled somewhere between atmospheric noise and indie pop is the San Francisco band Xiu Xiu, which has released an album that is purposely weird and catchy.
The group’s latest, “Women as Lovers,” has some of the same droning and experimental songs Xiu Xiu is known for, like “In Lust You Can Hear the Axe Fall” and “Guantanamo Canto,” which both have the band’s signature odd instrumentation and phrasing.
More listenable songs like “I Do What I Want, When I Want,” the album’s single, are strange enough to set them apart, but have enough familiarity to hitch on to.
“Black Keyboard” is sparse and eerie, with arpeggiated plucking strings and singer Jamie Stewart’s murmuring whisper, and “You Are Pregnant You, You Are Dead” is awash with overdriven drums and low bass growls, dualing vocals intertwining with xylophones and feedback.
“Women as Lovers” also has a cover of the Queen/David Bowie song “Under Pressure,” which is an album high point.
Xiu Xiu might not be for you you, but “Women as Lovers” is better than the band’s last few.