Xiu Xiu - Angel Guts : Red Classroom - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Xiu Xiu - Angel Guts : Red Classroom

by Brian Lange. Rating:8 Release Date:2014-02-03

Imagine what it feels like to be locked up in a dungeon labyrinth fitted with loudspeakers, stalked by slow-moving masses of mutant tubifex worms and you might come close to a description of this new record by California band Xiu Xiu.

Reportedly named after a Japanese erotic film with the same title, this record suggests influence and similarities with musical acts such as Einstürzende Neubauten, Robert Rich, Andy Stott and Deutsch Nepal. The record is fluid and well arranged. There is little room to change or alter the tracks to create a more appropriate progressive flow. It is quite obviously a dark record, and this consistency in the record is pleasing as there are no tracks that will stick out among the others, which makes for a spiritual journey into the unknown.

The album starts you off with 'Angel Guts', an airy-spacey drone of a track that’ll take you on a submarine journey to Mars. From there, things slowly get darker, meaner, and weirder. 'Stupid in the Dark' may be the quintessential track for the old goth-rock, Bauhaus t-shirt wearing rebellious punk kids. The resonating, deep-baritone vocals provided by lead singer/songwriter Jamie Stewart will undulate through your ears and make you feel as though the demons in your head are actually there. 

When church organs are broken and the minister has gone insane, you will hear exactly what is presented in the track 'El Naco', an abrasive track that seems inspired by expressionist films of Weimar Germany. Start up a chainsaw and start cutting up fallen knights in chainmail and you might get something like Red Classroom. The album is an eclectic mix of in-your-ear sounds and atmospheres which will have a lasting impression on you for days after listening.

While this isn’t quite akin to the likes of Aphex Twin, the repetitive loops and analog-created sounds will are reminiscent of classic early 90s electronic/experimental records.  An excellent album.

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