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Usually if a band describes themselves as "avant garde" or "art" rock, my advice would be to throw their album in the rubbish and burn the bin.
But Xiu Xiu's new album Always is actually pleasantly surprising - even if it does beg several listens before appreciation sets in.
Having been on the scene for a decade or so, the five-piece band prove with their latest electronica album that they've come quite a long way since the days of Knife Play and A Promise
Without sounding too pretentious - or too much - it's an incredibly bleak album, with most of the songs about feelings of self-loathing and despair.
Opening with If You Wish He Should Die, Say Hi, Hi, Hi, Xiu Xiu have actually managed to neatly combine melancholic lyrics with upbeat and - dare one say it - rather sweet melodies.