Xiu Xiu / (r) - Sharp Dressed Man / Gimme All Your Lovin' - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Xiu Xiu / (r) - Sharp Dressed Man / Gimme All Your Lovin'

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:9 Release Date:2017-12-08

Xiu Xiu and (r) have recently released a split single of ZZ Top covers, and they’re both fantastic in their own unique fashion.

Fabrizio Modenese Palumbo, who sometimes works under the name (r), creates music that has been categorized as chamber-goth, and that’s an accurate descriptor for the hauntingly brilliant vision provided to this cheesy classic rock staple. Dark, foreboding, and chilling, the song creeps malevolently along, while Palumbo’s deep groan, set against a sparse accompaniment, transforms the original’s silly, innuendo-laden lyrics into a threatening, menacing, and even depressing lament. It is simultaneously depressing and frightening, yet either way; it compels me to hit “repeat.” It’s the way a cover should be done: with utter originality.

Jamie Stewart, of Xiu Xiu, discovered ZZ Top through their MTV videos, and thought of them as a “joke” band, until he did some research and found out just how deep their roots went, and thus a level of respect their cheesy, teenage wet dream videos failed to convey. Just the same, Xiu Xiu’s cover of “Sharp Dressed Man” maintains the fuzzy blues melody of the original, albeit with Stewart’s vocals experimentally distorted. It actually manages to elevate the silliness to campy levels in the most endearing way.

These are two very different sounding singles, both excellent renditions that demonstrate the magic that happens when an artist reinterprets a song to their strengths instead of merely trying to reproduce a de facto karaoke version. Highly recommended.

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