La Forêt

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La Forêt
Studio album by Xiu Xiu
Released July 12, 2005 (2005-07-12)
Genre Art rock, experimental, post-punk
Length 44:11
Label 5 Rue Christine
Producer Cory McCulloch
Xiu Xiu chronology
Life and Live
(2005)
La Forêt
(2005)
The Air Force
(2006)

La Forêt is the fourth studio album by Xiu Xiu, released on July 12, 2005 on 5 Rue Christine. The album features John Dieterich of Deerhoof and Devin Hoff as contributors.[1][2]

Overview[edit]

La Forêt's sound has been described as more subtle and less pop sounding than Xiu Xiu's previous album Fabulous Muscles.[3][4] The album was seen as a return to Xiu Xiu's earlier sound.[3][5]

The track "Saturn" deals with Jamie Stewart's frustration with then president George W. Bush and was inspired by Francisco Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son, while the track "Bog People" was written during a bout of sadness Stewart experienced while sitting alone on a couch during a storm.[6]

The instrumentation includes clarinet, string arrangements, and vibraphone. Stewart said the tone of the album reflected his personal life where he began to internalize the difficult events that occurred around when Fabulous Muscles was recorded.[7] He described the album as "about reflection and resignation and coming to a sort of resolution".[7]

Stewart described five main subjects of Xiu Xiu songs: family, politics, sex, love and lovelessness, and suicide. The La Forêt track "Bog People" is about family and loss, and was written late at night while Stewart was sad and alone during a thunderstorm. The track "Saturn" is based on Francisco Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son and "wanting to rape" then-President George W. Bush "to death".[7] Stewart had seen the former at the Prado during the 2004 U.S. presidential elections.[7]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [3]
Entertainment Weekly (A-) [8]
Pitchfork Media (7.9/10) [4]
PopMatters (7/10) [5]
Stylus (A-) [9]

La Forêt has received mostly positive reviews. On the review aggregate site Metacritic, the album has a score of 82 out of 100, indicating "Universal acclaim."[10] La Forêt is also Xiu Xiu's highest rated album on the site.[11]

Stylus Magazine's William S. Fields gave the album a grade of "A-," writing "La Forêt has the sort of courage-minus-contrivance that is exceedingly (and ironically) rare in music of its dramatic and thematic ilk. For this reason, though I have enjoyed and admired many records this year, this is one of the few I genuinely care about."[9] Jordan Dowling of Drowned in Sound also gave the album a positive review, writing "Easy listening this amn't, but if you want a rollercoaster ride into deep recessions and to be thrilled by the sounds that surround you, then this could be the perfect album for you."[12] Allmusic's Heather Phares wrote "La Foret may be more delicate and less immediate than some of Xiu Xiu's other work (especially Fabulous Muscles), but at its best, it may have even more impact because of that."[3]

Joe Darling of Delusions of Adequacy, on the other hand, gave the album a negative review, writing "Unfortunately, the mere manufacture of unique sounds isn’t enough to rescue them on La Forêt. If Xiu Xiu would only come to a greater understanding of its own volatility, the band would be enabled to create truly memorable compositions. Hopefully these folks will reach this realization before they become completely entangled by devices of their own resistance."[13]

Brandon Stosuy of Pitchfork described the album as "less jagged, more elegant" than previous albums, and subtler than Fabulous Muscles.[7]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Clover"   5:13
2. "Muppet Face"   3:25
3. "Mousey Toy"   3:29
4. "Pox"   4:10
5. "Baby Captain"   3:43
6. "Saturn"   3:21
7. "Rose of Sharon" (Grey Ghost Version)"   5:05
8. "Ale"   5:41
9. "Bog People"   3:21
10. "Dangerous You Shouldn't Be Here"   3:53
11. "Yellow Raspberry"   3:06

Personnel[edit]

The following people contributed to La Forêt:[1][2]

Xiu Xiu[edit]

  • Cory McCulloch - Bass, Harmonium, Mandolin, Percussion, Piano, Producer, Synthesizer
  • Caralee McElroy - Harmonium, Percussion, Piano, Synthesizer
  • Ches Smith - Drums, Vibraphone
  • Jamie Stewart - Autoharp, Bass, Guitar, Harmonium, Percussion, Piano, Programming, Synthesizer, Vocals

Additional personnel[edit]

  • John Dieterich - Guitar, Programming, Vibraphone
  • Ben Goldberg - Clarinet, Clarinet (Bass)
  • Nick Hennies - Percussion
  • Devin Hoff - Double bass
  • Marika Hughes - Cello
  • Miya Zane Osaki - Artwork, Bass, Design

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b La Forêt - Credits. Allmusic. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b Xiu Xiu – La Forêt (CD). Discogs. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d Phares, Heather. La Foret Review. Allmusic. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b Howe, Brian. Album Reviews: La Foret. Pitchfork Media. 14 July 2005. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  5. ^ a b Begrand, Adrien. Xiu Xiu: La Foret. Popmatters. 11 July 2005. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  6. ^ Pitchfork Interviews: Xiu Xiu. Pitchfork Media. 9 April 2006. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e Stosuy, Brandon (April 9, 2006). "Xiu Xiu". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on July 13, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  8. ^ Gunatilaka, Timothy. La Foret Review. Entertainment Weekly. 18 July 2005. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  9. ^ a b Fields, William. Xiu Xiu - La Forêt - Review. Stylus. 22 July 2005. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  10. ^ Critic Reviews for La Foret. Metacritic Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  11. ^ Xiu Xiu Profile. Metacritic. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  12. ^ Xiu Xiu - La Foret. Drowned in Sound. 4 August 2005. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  13. ^ Darling, Joe. DOA - Xiu Xiu - La Forêt at the Wayback Machine (archived June 27, 2008). Delusions of Adequacy. 1 August 2005. Retrieved 9 July 2011.