Fabulous Muscles is Xiu Xiu's 3rd album, certainly the most electronic sounding and undoubtedly the most pop influenced so far. With a savant's genius Xiu Xiu attack the established pop idioms, inverting and reclaiming them in fascinating if sometimes disorienting ways with all kinds of weird cut-ups, juxtapositions, and unexpected arrangements. In that sense Fabulous Muscles is a strong breath of fresh air from an "indie rock" band who pretty much throw all the predictable stuff out the window.
The title song "Fabulous Muscles" that exposes the lead singer's super intense voice (a la The Cure / Talk Talk / Ultravox) is one of Xiu Xiu's most hook driven songs ever - melded with the greatest over-the-top lyrics we have heard in a while. "I Luv the Valley" is based on a guitar riff that gets into your brain immediately - probably the catchiest song on this album. "Clowne Towne" - our personal favorite - is using electronics and clattery percussions to make the most beautiful, sad and absurdly happy Xiu Xiu song on this album.
A couple of the songs on Fabulous Muscles are very very spare and quiet ("Nieces Pieces"), with "Little Panda McElroy" we can even listen to the first actual love song from Xiu Xiu. Others like "Support our Troops" and "Mike" are non melodic noise/experimental songs, that are mournful, dramatic, almost heartbreaking reminders of the dark side of what Fabulous Muscles also talks about. Beep, beep, beep, bzzzz poing!
"The songs on FM are about violence as an expression of power, child molestation, my father's suicide, disgusting, pointless war and trying to have hope for love to exist and persist in the midst of all this, but having doubts that it will" - Jamie Stewart
01 Crank Heart
02 I Love The Valley OH!
03 Bunny Gamer
04 Little Panda McElroy (b)
05 Support Our Troops OH! (Black Angels)
06 Fabulous Muscles (Mama Black Widow Version)
07 Brian The Vampire
08 Nieces Pieces (Boat Knife Version)
09 Clowne Towne
"Xiu Xiu creates masterpieces of avant-garde restraint that truly haunts the mind...Xiu Xiu's unorthodoxy shines" – BILLBOARD.COM, USA
"too brilliant to ignore" – SALON.COM, USA
"powerful and hypnotic" – TIME OUT NEW YORK, USA
9 out of 10 – VICE, USA
"Xiu Xiu's Fabulous Muscles is the first great album of 2004." – COLORADE SPRINGS INDEPENDENT, USA
"Jamie Stewart might be the most nakedly vulnerable singer alive...the band also makes some of the most inspired, expansive indie rock around." – THE ONION, USA
"They've got guts, something most indie rock bands sorely lack these days." – SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN, USA
"...Xiu Xiu builds something sacred from tiny moments of pain." – URB, USA
"Fabulous Muscles is arguably the most emotionally difficult, and best, Xiu Xiu album to date." – THE PORTLAND MERCURY, USA
"raw, unadulterated emotion" – WASHINGTON CITY PAPER, USA
"uncompromising experimentation and emotion" – ALTERNATIVE PRESS, USA
"Leaves you clinging to the speakers..." * * * * - LOGO MAGAZINE, USA
"Jamie Stewart, a brilliant musician...continually redefines boundaries and barriers in the most incredulous yet practical manner possible, all the while never alienating the listener...Fabulous Muscles should be mandatory listening for everyone." - LOFI MAGAZINE, USA
"a Xiu Xiu album has never sounded richer" – POP MATTERS, USA
"First things first: Fabulous Muscles is FABULOUS. The album is musically innovative, combining new noise, electronics and classic instrumentation like guitar and squeezebox into catchy, beautiful and consistently fascinating melodies." – BASSHEADMEDIA.COM, USA