To all those that thought self-loathing went out of fashion in the mid-nineties, A Promise presents a startling counter-argument. Go ahead and hate yourself, Xiu Xiu has produced a record “to cut your wrists to.”
Relating the experience of listening to a record is difficult. If I took myself more seriously as a reviewer, I might describe listening to A Promise as “a job that slowly kills you,” or “bruises that won’t heal,” but I’ll save those gems for when I write for Rolling Stone. For now, I’ll just say this: you attend Cornell University — you already know how it feels.
Being depressed can get a bit tiring, though. Does Xiu Xiu lead-screamer Jamie Stewart really think he can shriek all the time (or alternate between whispering and shrieking) and people will listen? I’m all for the baring of the soul, but there’s a point when too much has been revealed. And when what remains resembles an emaciated Asian-Somalian, full on with ribs bared, shriveled-up testicles, and anti-American sentiment — then you know it’s gone too far.
In the end, I can confidently say that this record made me want to kill myself. Hate-core for those of us not in the Ku Klux Klan.
Archived article by Walter Chen