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Album review: Twin Peaks gets a twist as Xiu Xiu puts a fresh spin on Angelo Badalamenti’s classic score

Xiu Xiu, who can sometimes be mistaken for an industrial or noisecore act, here brings the underlying violence of Lynch’s imagined America to the fore.
Plays The Music of Twin Peaks by Xiu Xiu. Courtesy Polyvinyl Records
Plays The Music of Twin Peaks by Xiu Xiu. Courtesy Polyvinyl Records

Plays the Music of Twin Peaks

Xiu Xiu

(Polyvinyl Records)

Four stars

Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks score has serious hipster cachet these days. It was the perfect musical accompaniment to David Lynch and Mark Frost’s groundbreaking TV early-1990s TV series, which offered a blend of surrealism, terror and idealised, vintage Americana.

Badalamenti’s music was a mix of hotel jazz, dated synths and retro ballads repurposed as something suitably sinister through clever, minimal arrangements that were always slower than you expected them to be.

Xiu Xiu, who can sometimes be mistaken for an industrial or noisecore act, here brings the underlying violence of Lynch’s imagined America to the fore.

Lead singer Jamie Stewart’s voice is a weapon of terror. On Falling – the Twin Peaks theme originally performed by Julee Cruise – Stewart turns the lyric “Don’t let yourself be hurt this time” into a premonition of extreme violence, which is exactly the point, given the fate of protagonist Laura Palmer.

Stewart’s rendition of nursery rhyme Mairzy Doats on spoken-word ordeal Josie’s Past is genuinely terrifying. There is beauty here, too, which almost makes it worse. Xiu Xiu luxuriates in both the evil and the numinous in Badalamenti’s music. 

abouyamourn@thenational.ae

Updated: May 22, 2016 04:00 AM

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