Look past the twittering electronic blips and beeps on Xiu Xiu’s latest record and you find some pretty heavy, caked-on, manic-depressive drama (not to mention just plain batshit-crazy weirdness). On Dear God, I Hate Myself, Xiu Xiu — a band that’s always struck me as more obtuse art-rock than anything else — allows singer Jamie Stewart to conjure his best Morrissey vocals. (An artist Xiu Xiu covered last year on a 7-inch split with Parenthetical Girls.) That’s a bold thing to do — yet they pull off the theatrical, self-loathing thing pretty well.
On “Chocolate Makes You Happy,” Stewart croons about how chocolate makes you full, keeps you awake, makes your pants too tight — yet overall, still makes you happy. (When you write it out like that, it really does seem stupid.) While the duo makes histrionic, hammed-up rock, occasionally (as on the title track), they strip away the silliness, showing how impassioned and talented they truly are.
DOWNLOAD: “Dear God, I Hate Myself”