Xiu Xiu – Plays The Music Of Twin Peaks (2016)

One of my biggest gig regrets of the last few years has been missing Xiu Xiu’s tour in anticipation of this record, as this is one of the best covers albums I’ve ever heard. Covering a song is one thing, covering an entire soundtrack is something else. I’ve been meaning to review this since it came out but I’ve been back and forth to it for quite some time not really sure on how to put the music here into words. As soon as you press play on the thing and the harsh stomp of “Laura Palmer’s Theme” creeps in, you know that Xiu Xiu mean business. The track is stripped to it’s menacing core, and whilst it isn’t as overblown as the original, it gets it’s point across in a subtler, more menacing method.

“Into The Night” is heavy as shit, if I could be so crude. I’ve always been a bit hit and miss with Xiu Xiu’s vocal offerings (and with the band in general, if I’m honest), but the group’s kooky approach is literally perfect for interpretating this soundtrack. I won’t go into a track by track analysis but all the favourites are here; “Audrey’s Dance” manages to retain its original slink whilst incorporating a robust sampled beat and bizarre noise fuckery, but “Dance Of The Dream Man” is a bit of a lurcher, as if witnessing David Lynch’s visual feast again through the cracked lens of a tremendously bad acid trip… (2020 edit: Oh how naive I was writing this; I’ve basically described Twin Peaks season 3 from the year after this review!)

The whole thing falls out with the trio of “Falling”, “Love Theme Farewell” and “Josie’s Past”. The rendition of  “Falling” is easily one of the best cover songs ever; not only nailing the original but improving it tenfold (it really has to be heard to be believed). The closing track, puzzlingly-titled considering the monologue is lifted from Laura Palmer’s diary, not Josie’s, is a twisted, almost nasty end to what is otherwise an ethereal listening experience.